by Jeffrey Inscho

I'm a writer, strategist and cultural technologist living in Pittsburgh. My work lives at the intersection of technology, culture, mindfulness and participation.

Flickr is Dead. Long Live Flickr.


I created my Flickr account in March of 2005. It was relatively early in the image sharing platform's lifespan and right around the time Yahoo! paid big bucks to bring Flickr within its portfolio of web services. At that time, Flickr was a revolutionary tool primarily used by bloggers to host and share photos.

Over the years, Flickr's feature set became more robust. A passionate community of users circled around the platform and I counted myself among them. They embraced the concept of user privacy and pushed forward with progressive copyright by integrating Creative Commons licensing in its nascent stages. Flickr was on top of the Web 2.0 world.

Then something happened. The web exploded with competing platforms that were focused on making it easier for users to share information. The iPhone was released and the mobile revolution was underway. "Social Media" had arrived and platforms were predicated on innovating at rapid rates.

Innovation at Flickr, however, ceased. Lured by compelling experiences and growing user bases elsewhere, many loyal Flickrists migrated away to Facebook or Twitter or Instagram. The writing seemed to be on the wall for the once-great, now-stagnant service. Fearing the worst, I backed up my entire photostream and let my Pro Account expire in January of 2010.

I spent the next three years going about my business on the web without even a thought toward Flickr. Until this week when an update to Flickr for iOS was released to positive reviews.

Feeling nostalgic for my glory days of the web, I downloaded the app to see what all the fuss was about. And the fuss, in my opinion, is justified. With one fell swoop, Flickr has injected itself back into the conversation of web relevance. It's not about the inclusion of Instagram-like photo filters or location services. Those features are great, but hardly leading edge. What makes this update so great is the combination of these features with a refreshed user experience, Flickr's outstanding respect for its community of users and the promise of continued innovation from the platform.

This is all good news and exciting for someone who never really wanted to say goodbye. Needless to say, I'm back. It's been great getting reacquainted with Flickr over the past few days and reconnecting with the community there. I'm curious to see where Flickr goes from here. New leadership at Yahoo! and a newfound energy are positive indications they're moving in the right direction. That's great to see.

Related: My friend Daniel Incandela's take on the new Flickr