If you haven’t heard, the new owners of Flickr, SmugMug (Don’t you just hate that name? It sounds like a 12-year-old boy came up with it.), have announced some changes that directly affect those with free accounts (I have a free account, fyi.). Of greatest concern to the Second Life Flickr community is SmugMug capped the number of photos and videos a free account can have at 1000.
That number is pretty arbitrary in my opinion, since one video could conceivably take up more storage than a thousand photos, but if a 12-year-old is running SmugMug, you’re going to get arbitrary decisions.
The sad truth is, I doubt this is going to get people to buy paying accounts. The internet has pretty much ruled on this. Whether it’s Facebook or Instagram or 500px or DeviantArt, people expect unlimited storage. Capping the number of photos on free accounts is going to drive people away and make potential new accounts go somewhere else.
Is that somewhere else Instagram, though?
It depends. : )
If you’re the kind of person who likes to take photos of what’s happening in your daily Second Life and you’re posting photos every day, Instagram is great. Your photos go up and the hashtags, used for grouping without having to be invited, get them on your friends’ feed, easily, where they can all see them and comment on them.
Instagram is designed for mobile use, so it has more a more interactive feel to it, than Flickr. It can be fun and it’s certainly addictive. The way it uses hashtags makes it great for sharing, but it also makes the platform for ideal for anyone who wants to target their sales, so it’s a great for SL merchants and bloggers.
Instagram is great for anyone posting daily photos, bloggers, and vendors.
But Instagram has its faults and you should be aware of them. Here are a few:
- The ads suck.
Every third image or so on Instagram is an ad. That’s bad enough, but they’re intentionally designed to fool you. You’ll end up clicking on things you have no interest in and before you know it you’re looking at real estate in Florida.
- The resolution sucks.
Instagram is designed for mobile devices, so there’s little point in posting high-rez images. Anything more that 2K is probably a waste on Instagram. If you want people to see your beautiful, 4K image that you’ve spent hours creating in PhotoShop, Instagram is not going to do it justice.
- The square format sucks.
Instagram does handle landscape and to a very limited degree portrait orientation, but it really wants to shove all your images into a square box. A square frame is nice, sometimes, but not everyone wants their art confined that way.
- The hashtags suck.
The hashtags are really nice for getting your image to a lot of different groups and people, but that process works for everyone. If you follow a generic hashtag like #nature, get ready to be inundated with a bazillion nature images because just like you, anyone can post to that hashtag.
- Protection of your privacy probably sucks.
Instagram is owned by Facebook. Enough said. Facebook has about as much concern for your privacy as a spider does for a fly’s family.
- Control of your license sucks.
Instagram is essentially saying, we can do what we want with your images, while Flickr says, we can do what we need to do with your images in order to provide service. Instagram’s Terms of Usage is much broader and some people have interpreted it as saying Instagram can profit off your work without telling you.
Flickr also provides degrees of control over your images’ licensing to others–All rights reserved, Public Domain, Attribution, etc.–which aren’t available at all on Instagram.
Here’s the bottomline:
If you’re posting every day and a thousand images of storage isn’t enough, Instagram is probably for you.
If you’re a vendor or blogger, you should absolutely be on Instagram. Instagram reaches a lot of people and it’s very targeted marketing.
Instagram is great for advertising your work and showing your photos quickly to all your friends. It has a ton of faults, but what it does, it does very well.
If you’re concerned about your SL privacy, take into account that Facebook has a horrendous track record with guarding its users’ privacy and FB owns Instagram.
If you’re creating high-resolution works of art, and you want to share those images as you intended people to see them and in a more controlled fashion, you should stay with Flickr.
Yes, the 1000 image limit is going to be a nuisance, but Instagram and Flickr are two different platforms. But it doesn’t have to be a one or the other issue, unless you’re bumping up against the limit. If anything, Flickr and Instagram compliment each other.