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Experimenting with Flickr Groups

Just a quick update on the latest experiment that I’ve been doing at my Digital Photography School blog.

A couple of weeks ago I had a few emails from readers who started to make suggestions about how they’d like to share their photos, work on group projects and meet other readers.

I considered adding comments to the blog but then began to wonder if there might be another option. As a result I started a Flickr group for the blog – you can see it here.

Picture 1-10

The main aims of the group where:

  1. A place to share photos that readers are taking
  2. A place where I can set ‘assignments’ that relate to the tips I’m writing about on the blog
  3. A place where readers can discuss what they are learning and ask questions about their cameras/photography

I considered starting my own forum for it but decided to go with a Flickr group in the mean time for a number of reasons:

  • I’m pushed for time at the moment and will be for the next month or so and thought this was a quicker/more immediate solution.
  • Many of my readers already hang out in Flickr and I suspected that the pick up rate would be much higher this way than trying to convert them to a forum that they were unfamiliar with.
  • Flickr is an amazing place which is filled with many many thousands of digital camera users. It makes sense to become a part of that community because they are the type of people I am writing DPS for. I’m interested to see what flow on impact getting involved in that community will have.
  • Hosting pictures can be expensive and I’d rather let Flickr pay for it.

On the downside:

  • It means sending people away from my site
  • It’s not a very customizable setting for either photo sharing or discussion
  • I can’t monetize it (it’s against Flickr’s rules to set up commercial Flickr groups that directly monetize the group)

Ultimately I think I’ll move towards a forum and try to get users to host their pictures on Flickr (or another photo sharing site) but in the mean time it’s an experiment that is working very well.

The Flickr group has 289 members who have shared 187 photos so far and who are really getting involved in the discussion and assignments. I’m particularly amazed by the numbers of people who are doing the assignments I’ve set. This takes blogging into a new and more interactive direction than I’ve gone before and I’m really enjoying the interactions.

The other benefit of the group is that it’s actually driving traffic to the blog. I mentioned above that one downside is that having it off the blog’s domain means I send people away – but I’ve also noticed that some of the new readers for the blog are finding it through the group itself as new users talk it up in other Flickr groups.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Cary says:

    Aha… others are catching on!

    Lori & I have been running a cancer support group on Flickr (to compliment Lori’s Too Sexy For My Hair blog) since last Summer.

    It of course has nothing to do with making money, but Flickr is an incredible tool for socializing, sharing ideas, and best of all getting to know about other people’s lives through the use of photos.

    We have made incredible friends, shared a lot of tears, and most importantly given each other a whole lot of hope.

    IMHO Flickr is where Web 2.0 really lives up to the hype… my entire family is on Flickr, and you can get to know any of us just by getting a glimpse into our worlds.

    For anyone needing cancer support the “Too Sexy For My Hair” group on Flickr can be found at:
    http://www.flickr.com/groups/27763725@N00/

    It’s been a true God-send.

  2. For what it sounds like Flickr is would work better for your needs anyway. Besides forums are a whole other breed altogether that can end of taking up a ton of your time maintaining. You will also be able to gain some new visitors from the already estabilished Flickr members.

    I think you made the right choice on this one. I will have to check it out Darren.

  3. Kevin says:

    Some work places block Flickr in its entirety due to some of the, ummm, “interesting” content on there.

    The forum idea sounds good, or finding some other photo sharing site that has a better reputation (for want of a better word!). Of course those now on the Flickr group will have to move all their stuff, and you risk alienating a few.

  4. City SEO/M says:

    Fantastic Idea! The assignments are a brilliant innovation. I’m not at all surprised that it comes from Problogger, but my mind is boggled right now by the extent of this new expansion for blogging. You talk a lot about making things interactive, but you’ve just opened a whole new can of worms, that I can honestly imagine new companies springing from.

    On a related note, you might want to work with Cary’s cancer support group. Something like 20% of profits this month go to Cary’s support group, who’s part of the DPS…

  5. Lisa says:

    I agree that Flickr and blogs complement each other nicely. At my blog I hold a ‘Museum Photo of the Week’ competition, where people post their photos to a flickr group, out of which one gets chosen for publication on Mode.

    However, not all readers have a flickr account or are willing to set one up just to post a pic. I’m sure that it is different for a digital photoraphy site!

  6. al says:

    flickr closed our account for what we thought was some pretty racist reasons so we don’t recommend anyone using it. and htey shut it down without telling us anything and got quite arrogant when we questioned them
    read on here http://propagandapress.org/?p=350

  7. Mary says:

    For what it sounds like Flickr is would work better for your needs anyway.

    However, not all readers have a flickr account or are willing to set one up just to post a pic. I’m sure that it is different for a digital photoraphy site!

    Do you have to say something!

  8. Flickr is a critical mass, too many people use flickr. It is hard to make competing application. Well, they did a great job. Look at the site it is so nice and strong ease of use. And Tag base photo gallery will always be the best compare to a gallery base or worse directory base

  9. David Hobby says:

    Don’t worry about people leaving your site for your Flickr group. What you ‘re getting in exchange is (a) a whole new level of interactivity and stickiness for your site, and (b) access to many people who will discover you through Flickr itself.

    Flickr has been the single biggest driver of word of mouth about Strobist, with our group growing to 500 people even though the blog itself is only about 70 days old.

    It’s a Good Thing.

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