Saturday, November 8, 2008

FlickR: The modern emoticon

Not to get all 'Zarathustra' on you, but word on the street is 'blogs are dead'. At least according to Paul Boutin's recent article in Wired Magazine. Boutin contends that Twitter, FlickR and Facebook are in, and blogs are 'so 2004'. Sounds like something a spawn of Meal Girls and WoW would suggest?

So where does this leave the average business or entity with an online presence? Confused, I'm sure.

FlickR just celebrated the inclusion of the 3 billionth image uploaded to its 4-year-old site. Their platform is engaging, and it is no wonder they have experienced such exponential growth (perhaps one of the only growth areas in Yahoo's portfolio of investments).

Over the past year, I've started to appreciate the value of FlickR as a social and cultural tool. With a museum client of ours, we became aware of the utilization of FlickR as a tool to develop more engaging exhibits. A specific example at a national level is the Library of Congress' FlickR site. They've uploaded their photography archive online and encourage people to 'tag' images with their own comments and memories of that moment in time. Although many of the anecdotes are intriguing, other comments are reminiscent of a transcript of Beavis and Butthead (moderators are needed - badly).

We're also seeing integration of FlickR with map tools like Google Maps to bring historical moments to life w/ a geographical reference point. Later in '09 I look forward to sharing more information on a specific website project that will accomplish this in a very engaging manner.

I suppose the bottom line is, FlickR - you might be the 'it' kid in school at the moment, but what does this mean in context with how people are evolving and adapting to the Internet culture?

Are web enthusiasts getting more expressive or getting dumber? Has the blogging form of narcissistic rants evolved into truncated blogging on Twitter in conjunction with including an image to express oneself in as few words as possible? Is FlickR the sophisticate's emoticon?

As likely suggested by my often incorrect grammar and misspellings, the art and desire for eloquent writing as a form of expression might be behind us and the current replacement is fragmented through several different sites/platforms focused on imagery, video, short-handed mobile blogging, and social networking. Will an ultimate tool or site be developed in the near future that takes all these ways to express oneself and funnels them down?

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