Friday, September 29, 2006

Day Eleven - I'll show you mine, if....

One learning community, I wanted to make sure I visited is a place with lots of visual appeal, but few words...and yet it is a very highly effective community. There is much sharing, a huge membership with lots of sub-groups, and a very well known social element.

Flickr identifies itself as a photo-sharing community based on a Web 2.0 platform. When I first encountered Flickr, I didn't really notice the community so much. I thought it was a great way to use photos on various websites or classes I was taking. I could take on my photos, and instead of posting it to my own server, I could use the space at Flickr. Then I found the tagging mechanism. I found that there were other folks out there taking similar photos of similar things. Not only that, but many of them were willing to share and in many cases let me use their photos on my web endeavors. Much of the material on the site was marked "Creative Commons" which allowed me to use it with proper documetation. This was my first real-life encounter with the "copy-left" culture. This in itself was an education. Most of this attentiveness came about whent the original Canadian owner (who established Flckr in 2002) sold their holding to Yahoo in March 2005 and came under the strict US Copyright laws.

Then much to my surprise in 2005, I got my first invite to join in one of the many sub-communities of folks taking photos based on specific subject matter. From here I went on to join several other groups of like minded amateur photographers. In Flickr's early days, there were chat rooms where groups like this met (IRC), but that has since been replaced by the tagging and internal email systems.

There are several other photo sharing communties but none have had the success of Flickr.

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