Flickr Wants Its Throne Back

Instagram is one of the few social-media oriented services that managed to really click these past few years. While other photo sharing sites are constantly being gobbled by larger companies and being dissolved, instagram remains strong and shows no sign of stopping, which is why it’s not surprising that everyone is now trying to copy it’s filter-oriented model. However, only Flickr right now seems to really get what made Instragram such a success in the first place: the ability to share photos with friends on multiple networks.

It is simple and so effective.

Photosharing has become so ingrained in our day to day lives that it’s very easy to forget that it has now become the battleground for many IT giants as they try to topple each other and solidify their bases. The most recent bout is between Instagram and Twitter, with Instagram cutting off support for Twitter’s expanded tweets feature, and Twitter responding by launching its own Instagram-style filters. While the two giants were duking it out, Yahoo has come out of the left field with their brand new Flickr App, which offers Instagram-style filters but focuses more on the photosharing aspect.

What Happened?

There was a time when Flickr was the king of photosharing sites. When it launched, it became the most popular public cloud of photos. To a certain extent, it could argue that they started the trend. Photographers, amateur, professionals and delusional made their home.

However, Flickr, owned by Yahoo, did the same mistake they made in their Yahoo Mail. They limited the storage and charged an annual fee for those who want a bigger space. It made thing complicated and “complicated” is the one people hate.

Instagram entered the picture and simplified the process. Take a photo, filter it and post it. It shook the digital world.

It may be argued that Instagram and Flickr served different purposes. Flickr was meant to sell photos and Instagram was built to share photos.

Regardless, Flickr got pushed towards the background and it’s taking a former Google Executive to realize the opportunity they lost.

Sharing is Selling

Overzealous professional photographers and designers tend to lament the fact that technology has allowed every average Joe to use powerful handheld computers with built-in megapixel cameras, which rapidly shifted the dynamics of the photography industry. Nowadays, many people can shoot decent quality pictures with their smartphones, and naturally, there’s only one thing left to do after taking a photo: sharing it.

What Flickr failed to realize is that sharing is the new way of selling. Instagram didn’t put a space limit. It became a real image-based social network. It helped people make their photos beautiful and it made sharing easy.

Now, Flickr wants to catch up and it wants to give Instagram a run for its money.

The Point that Flickr Now Understands

Twitter seems to understand that photosharing is vital to the social media experience but thought that Instagram’s success was due to the automated filters that mimic various classic-era photograph. Hence, Twitter decided to add their own filters in their photo sharing site.

The true root of Instagram’s success, and what Flickr’s new iOS app is seeking to leverage, is the ability to share their photos to a wide range of other networks that include Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and Tumblr, as well as the social network that was borne out of the service.

Flickr understands that now. It’s a simple thing but one that they never provided for the longest time.

Unlike Twitter, which only supports sharing over their own service, the new Flickr App’s reach is broad enough that it may prove to be a worthy competitor to Instagram. First, it finally brings their service to the 21st century when it comes to features, speed and aesthetics, next and more importantly, it allows users to publish and share their pictures to a wide range of social networks, including Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr. Add the fact that Flickr’s existing userbase is fairly large, the Yahoo-owned company may start becoming a force to reckon with in the photosharing wars.

Is Copying Instagram the Answer?

Meyer, herself, is an avid Instagram user. That’s probably why she sees the potential they have missed. The question is whether or not they are doing it the right way. Is copying Instagram the right way?

For one, why would anyone use a new app that is exactly the same as the app they are already using? Why someone prefer this over a more established app, at least in the photo sharing genre?

Flickr will need something more than just a duplicate product if they plan to overtake Instagram. Meyer should know that more than anyone else.

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