Video on Flickr: An apple of dischord

Seventeen hours after its creation, the Flickr group “NO VIDEO ON FLICKR!!!” already has more than 5475 members and 670 items. What is even more amazing is that another group, “We Say NO to Videos on Flickr“, created 2 hours later, has more than double the number of members of the previously mentioned group, and both are composed of Flickr users who oppose the idea of having video on the platform traditionally used for uploading pictures. On the other hand, the groups created for uploaded videos hardly have more than 30 members yet. What is the reason for this insatisfaction with Yahoo and Flickr's decision to make video uploading and viewing possible on their site?

Most of the users in these groups are concerned that video upload will interfere with their user experience in browsing pictures, leading to lower speed and picture uploads, and others are upset that the main reason why they joined Flickr was for photography, and not for video. They fear that the supportive community they've found in Flickr will disappear and become into what a community “mainly reduced to flaming people about their beliefs, intents and capabilities.” You can read these and other perspectives by following this link. However, even among these groups there are those who believe that because only pro users can upload videos, that that will become a sort of quality filter, and that it will make it less likely for new users to get into Flickr just because of video. Others hope that it becomes a tool for photographers to make slide-shows or stop motion animation with their pictures, and use it to give their products an added value. There have also been requests for discussion threads in Spanish, and a translation of the petition they are signing has been posted.

So what sort of content has been uploaded so far?, CreepySleep uploads a video of a deep leg wound cleansing in a young boy, and it is only one of many different videos he has uploaded on life in South Sudan.

Another video is this one featuring children playing instruments and singing for tourists at the salt plains of Uyuni in Bolivia, uploaded by i-ren ishii. Mr.Frosted uploaded the following video where you can see the bright blue garbage collector truck with its trademark song in the streets of Vietnam. He also has several other creative commons videos on different locations throughout the world.

The last video I´ll present has actually been chosen by the Flickr team to be a part of the Video! Video! Video! group where they've been amassing the best examples of video on Flickr so far. The following is “Mount Fuji from the Shinkansen” by antimega:

Whether you agree with Flickr being used for videos or not, people are using the new option and uploading their content: it will remain to be seen how Yahoo and Flickr will will respond to the groups unhappy with this change.

Thumbnail image is No to videos on Flickr by the Monkey 2332 image used according to creative commons license.


  • sbostedor

    I don’t understand why they protest the video on Flickr. I think it’s great and a natural progression. If they don’t want video, then simply don’t upload video. It’s your typical control geek who thinks that there should be strict rules to make everyone operate the same way that they do.

  • […] Video on Flickr: An apple of dischord. The still image folk are apparently not happy with pro users being able to upload 90 second clips. Related: A bit of discussion about what Flickr video may mean for journalists is going on over at Paul Bradshaw’s place. […]

  • Fabricio Jiménez

    I am a Flickr Pro-account user and the reason that I bought the Pro account is just because I wanted to join a photography-only community. I have no issues with people wanting to create and share videos, or any other media type for that matter. The ‘junk’ and slowness issues are the ones that I’m worried about.

  • G-G

    I am also a Flickr pro-account user and I agree with Fabricio Jimenez on all points. No one is “against” the idea of video itself- I love youtube and I’m also a member of that site! But Flickr was great as a photo-only community and it should remain as such, especially since those of us who paid yearly membership fees to be members of this site paid when it was photo-only and expected it to remain that way. I am also concerned about slowness and “junk” videos, although what one defines as “junk” may vary, of course =).
    If Flickr wishes to expand into video to compete with youtube, it should just open a partner but SEPARATE website to Flickr photo.

    Finally, I think what many Flickr account holders are fearing is a loss of the artistic side of Flickr. Not to say that there aren’t terrible photos on Flickr or that all the photos are highly artistic, but it is a different web environment than, say, YouTube where any idiot (including me!) who can point a shaky cellphone cam or video cam can get a thousand hits on their video. It’s a different thing entirely and should remain separate.

  • sbostedor

    I see the disconnect here. There seems to be an elitist crowd who believe that this website is only for photographers who want to display their artistic pictures.

    The reality is that Flickr has many dimensions. Most of my pictures on the website are very amateur images of my family posted for friends and family. The majority of the images on Flicr are just like mine. Video fits in very nicely here.

    Flickr is not just a playground for professional photographers. It never has been and never will be.

  • zadam

    i’m in two minds about flickr’s new video features. on the one hand, i’m concerned about a general deterioration in the typically high quality of flickr contributions – from what i’ve seen so far, the content of the first round of video uploads, while containing interesting subjects, are not particularly well filmed, framed or edited. fair enough, i suppose, but photography and video are two very different media, and a clunky video doesnt have the same romance as the awfully distorted and skewed photograph that your cheaper eastern european camera spits out.

    i’m also concerned that yahoo are trying to establish a kind of “one stop shop” for media content. this has happened most notably with myspace and facebook, with traditional users being saturated with a whole variety of features they never knew they needed. the end result is a ragged online society devoid of the original focus that attracted its community to begin with. admittedly, it’s only a single feature that has been added – and one that might seem a logical progression – but til now, the added features of flickr have been limited to orbiting directly around still photography. mapping tags, photo blogs. the desire to keep things photo based brought some creative and innovative tools and features to the flickr community.

    as i said, though, i’m in two minds. i have a tendency towards puritanism. when ipods first hit the mainstream, i stubbornly maintained that the power of a tangible record cover could never be replicated in digital form. it also took me a few years to be convinced that i needed to be contact-able 24/7 by mobile phone. so perhaps this is yet another expression of my predictable tech inertia. perhaps it’s healthy to be so cynical. perhaps it’s only video on flickr, and perhaps i should spend my worrying time on bigger things.


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