I have no excuse.
Sometimes, the real world just has to have its share of attention.
Lately, it seems I've been spending a lot of time with photographs (both my own and others) shared at Flickr. Haven't heard of Flickr? Well, you should check it out over at www.flickr.com/photos/rberteig/. Ok, so I am engaging in a cheap plug for my own photos, but hey, this is my own blog which no one else reads anyway!
Flickr is an interesting object: a purpose driven site with emergent purpose. On the face of it, it is just a place to host and share photography. But if you get immersed in it, it becomes so much more. It is also an opportunity to learn, and to teach others. It is a place to find interesting images, many of which are available for reference from blogs just like this one.
In fact, that is exactly how I came to Flickr in the first place in what turns out to be Flickrs early days. I needed a place to drop the occasional photo for a club's blog, and Blogger doesn't provide hosting for anything more than the text you are reading. But they recommended this new thing from Canada whose price and policies seemed to be a good fit.
About a year and a half later, Flickr hosts over 96000000 photos from over 1000000 members. Members post photos for a wide range of reasons, but most seem to make their work freely searchable and viewable. Many even use license terms from the Creative Commons that encourage reuse (with credit) of their work.
The group discussions operate like a traditional BBS with pictures to support interests as wide ranging as cats and sunsets, not to mention photography technique and specific cameras. Groups serve to gather photographs by topic across a broad range of users. They also serve to collect people with common interests and can be more social than photographic.
More important than groups, however, are the interlinked systems of metadata about the photographs. Flickr provides a great deal of support for EXIF, IPTC, and XMP metadata stored directly in the JPEG files by your camera and software. It also provides tags which can be added by you and by people you designate to describe the photo. Tags can be searched across the whole site, for specific groups, and for specific users. This makes finding all photos that were rated exactly 73/100 by the 100 points group as easy as finding square format pictures of circular clocks. In addition, photos have a title, a description, and an unbounded number of of comments from other users.
In short, I like Flickr. I like it a lot.
I have no excuse.