Using Flickr to build community and networks

I find flickr one of the most useful web 2.0 tools in that the primary aspect of its interface is user content, shared with both individual users and groups. The user content in this case is king and is front and centre for both the creator and consumer.

Flickr represents the simplest way to transition from being a consumer of culture to a producer of it (a process that has been called prosuming, where the same person can participate in the production and consumption of arts and culture, facilitated in part by the interactivity and engagement of web 2.0 technology- for more info see http://www.freepress.net/files/CommunityMedia_ProsumerEra.pdf, which is a great article written by Ellie Rennie)

So, how does flickr link creators and ‘fans’? If you just upload your own photos on flickr, sharing them with others, tagging them with labels that help people find them and then letting your friends and colleagues know that the flickr photostream is available and running, then flickr serves the same purpose as say Facebook in terms of photo sharing. flickr does more however. It allows you to post your photos to albums of shared interest and content. It encourages you to make other people photos favourites and then comment on their work. After you have made contact with people through being in the same group, sharing their work or even having a conversation with them through commenting, you can make them your friend and share their new uploads.

Like most web 2.0 applications, it relies on the sharing of user generated content, interaction between users and a commitment to maintain that contact, perhaps using mediums other than flickr (such as a twitter feed or through a blog) in order to be an effective tool of networking.

So, search some groups that might be related to the pictures you have posted and post some of your photos to that group. Look at other peoples photos and make some comments on their work. Perhaps blog some of the groups you have found on flickr. Here are some interesting flickr groups I just found that you might wish to have a look at, or share your photos on…

http://www.flickr.com/groups/londontheatrebreaks/

http://www.flickr.com/groups/stagestruck/

http://www.flickr.com/groups/practice/

http://www.flickr.com/groups/just_dance/

A final suggestion might be to embed your flickr photo stream into your blog. How you do this varies from blog site. However, there is a simple how-to guide located here http://www.flickr.com/help/blogging/