The death of Flickr?

by Chris Bertram on May 16, 2012

Gizmodo has a piece “proclaiming the death of Flickr”: at the hands of the hateful and incompetent Yahoo. In many ways, Flickr has been the most important site on the internet to “me”: (after CT of course) for the past five years. There isn’t another site that allows people who are serious about photography (including film) to display and talk about their work with others who feel the same way, that also includes a social media component. True, there are other sites that are good display vehicles (zenfolio or smugmug) but that’s like opening your shop down a dusty side-street: random traffic. And there are other sites that do the social media thing and carry photos (Facebook, Google+) but where you are showing your stuff not to _photographers_ but to your “friends” who may or may not care. No one else does the combination. The other thing about Flickr is the crossover from online social groups to real-world friendships. In Bristol we have monthly pub meets and various other events; through other Flickr projects I’ve met and hung out with photographers in other places, notably San Francisco. I’d never have met those people on Facebook. But Flickr does look tired and Yahoo has starved it of support. It is not dead yet, but it will be a tragedy if it goes, since nothing else does the same job.

Pretender, in the non-pejorative sense (and à propos of nothing in particular). Wikpedia’s definition will do: “A pretender is one who claims entitlement to an unavailable position of honour or rank. Most often it refers to a former monarch, or descendant thereof, whose throne is occupied or claimed by a rival, or has been abolished.” So, for example, Plato was pretender to the Philosopher King’s throne in a perfectly respectable sense. He wasn’t an imposter. It was his proper title. This seems to me a concept deserving of wider application and all-around democritization. When you write up your resume or CV, why list only the position you’ve got? That’s an extremely random sort of fact about yourself, on average. If we must be defined by our jobs or stations, most of us are much better defined by the offices or stations we should have – but that someone else is squatting on, through no merit of their own; or that, through no fault of our own, just don’t happen to exist. I’d be perfect for a lot of way cool jobs that don’t happen to exist. And if being perfect for the job isn’t some sort of entitlement, I don’t know how anyone can be entitled to any job. (Not that I don’t have a good job now. I do. And I’m lucky to have it.) Pretending, in this sense, is the highest form of ethical authenticity. “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains. Those who think themselves the masters of others are indeed greater slaves than they.” That is, you ought to put ‘pretender to freedom’ on your business card. If you put ‘accounts executive’ or ‘associate professor’ you are selling yourself short. Think about that kid in “The Squid and the Whale” who pretends he wrote “Hey You”. He’s not trying to fool anyone. He just thinks he should have written it. It was only a sort of accident that Roger Waters got there first. Makes a certain amount of sense.

What should your business card say?

Take it away, Platters!