I still love Flickr

I was on vacation when the new Flickr was launched, so I didn’t get a lot of time to really look at it (not on a proper sized screen, anyway). Instead, my various social media feeds where bombarded with laments and frustrations. This had me worried, especially as a lot of the complaints didn’t offer much detail (OK, you hate it, but why?), so I had no idea what to expect. And, when I did take a gander, my initial reaction was a concerned raised eyebrow. It looked slick, but a lot of things had changed or moved. But, after a few days of playing around on the website and in the app, I think it comes down to this: there are a lot of changes all at once – some are great, some are not so great, and some are things that I can get used to.


  1. Some changes are going to piss people off, despite the fact that they are fairly standard and reasonable. For example, free users will see ads … but, they also get  TB of space (which is a hella lot of pictures).
  2. There are a lot of changes all at once. I honestly don’t know if making a lot of big changes once is good or bad, but I have noticed with other social media sites that people’s negative reaction are often proportional to the amount of change they have to deal with. In some cases it’s a lack of willingness to accept/embrace change and in other cases it’s simply that they know what they want and they are faced with deciding if they want to learn a new work flow with an old service or take the plunge and try a new service.


  1. The pictures are big (both on the individual photo pages and in the photostreams).
  2. The photostreams use the “waterfall” pageload (though, you can switch back to the standard rows and columns on pages for editing your own photostream). Some people hate this, but I really like this option for browsing photostreams. It reminds of when I used to cut out pictures from magazines and fill my walls with collages. I like how pictures automatically download, instead of me having to wait for each new page to load.
  3. That said, I really appreciate being able to go to edit mode so that I can see the titles, permissions, etc. of my own photostream.
  4. My favourite things (photostream, sets and favourites) are at the top of the page. I like to see people’s photos, but I also think that their sets and favourites can say a lot about who they are and be a great way to explore what’s in the Flickr universe.
  5. I love being able to have a cover photo (despite some of the issues I had with adding one; see Cons list).
  6. Videos can be longer (up to 3 minutes)
  7. As a current subscribing Pro member, I get to keep my sweet deal. Hey, $25/year (or even the new $50/year fee) is something that I’m willing to pay to keep Flickr going and not worry about ads.


  1. You can see things like image title when you scroll over pictures in photostreams, but not the description. This is unfortunate because some people add detailed descriptions, links, or even poetry/etc. to their photo descriptions which add to the experience. This will also make me rethink what, if anything, I will bother to put in my descriptions. Maybe it’s not worth it anymore? Maybe I should add more descriptive titles? You know how it shows you the number of people who have favourite or commented on the picture? I wish there was a symbol or something that would indicate if there’s a description so I know if it’s worth my while clicking through to the individual photo page.
  2. I have to admit that I much prefer a while background. I don’t know why.
  3. The cover photo can only be changed to recent pictures. It would have been nice to have been able to pick anything from my photostream, and not just more recent pictures.
  4. The other cover picture issue is photo size. It seems to zoom right into some pictures. I had one that had a significant amount cut off from either side, so it was zoomed in way too much. It was weird and annoying.
  5. This is a personal pet peeve: not being able to middle click to open things *in a new tab*. This has always been an issue with Flickr. You always have to remember to right click, and select “open in new tab”.

I need to rethink how I do some things on Flickr (titles, descriptions, remembering to look for other people’s photo descriptions, etc.). I also need to fix the size I use to upload. For years, I’ve stuck with letting my photo program resize to a max of 800 pixels (I honestly don’t even remember the initial logic behind this, but it was probably from back when I didn’t have a Pro account and there were more upload limits). I just haven’t gotten around to changing this default.

The app (Android):

  1. It can be a bit slow to upload pictures when the connection is bad, but that’s true of pretty much everything.
  2. It looks good and has all the things I need.
  3. I don’t like how, when viewing the contacts page, I see pictures from all my contacts, regardless of when they last uploaded images. If someone hasn’t added anything new in several months (or, years, in one case), I don’t want to waste my time trying to remember why those pictures look familiar.
  4. I know this is silly, but I really love the filter names (narwhal, mammoth, etc.).

These are just my initial reactions. I read a lot of other people’s opinions. There was a lot of negative feedback about the ads for free users (but, again, it’s free and you get a TB, so get over yourself), the black background, the pictures being “crammed” together (makes sense – it’s certainly not standard for galleries, etc.), etc. But, for me and my needs, the pros outweigh the cons.

Some of the articles/posts I read which I think give the best overview of the benefits of the changes and reasons for sticking with Flickr include:

  1. 8 Things we love about the new Flickr
  2. The new Flickr: What it means from Pro users
  3. (Because it includes a little background re. falling user numbers) Ok, new Flickr, you got me. I’m back.


  1. There’s things I like and things I don’t like about the new Flickr. I don’t think I’m going to shove off and go elsewhere over it, but it’s interesting how differently people view things. For me, the cons come down to three things:

    1. Not enough white space (or black space if that’s your thing – I’d rather have white spacing between photos, but some people seem to like black). I’m surprised that people like that look, with all the photos mashed together in one space, because wow does it make my eyes want to close. There’s so much to look at that I sort of stop seeing the pictures at all. (And I hadn’t thought of it, but I’ve seen a lot of people making the point that since the pictures are bigger, a lot of people aren’t going to click through to actually look at them, so you’re not going to have an accurate view count, if that’s something that matters to you. And I think people might be less inclined to comment, since they’re not forced to actually open the page where you can comment.)

    2. Endless scroll. It just bothers me on some deep level I can’t explain (and it bogs down the works), but obviously everyone’s mileage varies on that one, since I’ve seen some people who love it (and many more who don’t).

    3. Hidden information/data. I miss the easy access of some of the information – the missing descriptions, having to scroll down to see view counts, etc.

    I suppose I’ll eventually get used to it, but I really do prefer a more… art gallery style of viewing, rather than the pintrest-clone we’ve got now.


    • Yeah. Those are a lot of the same complaints I’m hearing from others. I don’t mind the mashed up chaos of all the pics crammed together, but, like I said, it reminds me of my old collages. I definitely see the issue with it (look at art galleries – they always leave space so that you can focus on just the one item), I just don’t mind it too much. I think Razzi.me has more white space (at least one crafter I follow has said that they were migrating to Razzi). I hope that enough people are telling Flickr what they dislike (and like). They may be willing to fix things (or, at least adjust things) in the long run.

      Thanks for your comment :) I appreciate hearing what people think about it because it puts a lot of the vague complaints in perspective and often highlights issues I hadn’t considered before.


  2. I read some of the forums and there’s some pretty virulent hatred in there (a lot of it directed at Marissa Meyer, some of it in a pretty awful woman-in-charge=bitch way, which I think probably automatically discounts whatever else they had to say, I know that makes me stop taking them seriously), but hopefully they’ll be able to filter through some of the crap and maybe find solutions to smooth out a few things.

    A couple thoughts on the things I don’t like: with the endless scroll, it seems to me that you could have the same layout, but make the scrolling an opt-out for those of us who don’t like it or who have crappy connections that don’t support it easily. Another thought would be to have the same layout, but allow people to have a wider border between photos – just pulling numbers out of the air, but if it’s 5px white space right now, you could have the option to widen it to, say, 20px, so things won’t be crammed in so tight. And the picture views number could be added to the hover-over information that already exists.

    I mean, on the whole it’s probably a good thing. Flickr NEEDED an update, but hopefully they can find a way to smooth out some of the rough edges.


    • I really like your suggestions. I think they make a lot of sense (and I would prefer some options like that, too). I agree that Flickr needed an update, and I hope that they are able to take the suggestions (good and bad) to work on a few tweeks.


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