As everyone already knows by now, Flickr started allowing users to upload videos a few days ago. When I first learned about it, I was excited. Yes, I know there are lots of people out there kicking and screaming about it, but I personally loved it. I think the negative reaction from a group of people was expected, but I don’t quite understand why some people got so angry about it.
Seriously now… If their servers are prepared (and I’m assuming they took care of that in advance), does it really change people’s experience on Flickr all that much to have videos on other people’s photo streams? Those who don’t want to watch videos can simply skip them, nobody’s forced to click on videos. They don’t even look all that different in photo streams, except for the “play” button over the still image.
Maybe I’m missing something, so those of you who are so passionately protesting against it, enlighten me: why is it so bad? Do you really think that if Flickr was trying to compete with YouTube there would be a 90 seconds limit to videos?
Mmm… I see… Flickr is no longer “pure”… It’s now tainted and infected with (God forbid!) evil videos!!!
I like to hear other people’s opinions before posting something like this, so I went ahead and read all different reasons I could find that people are giving to support “why videos shouldn’t be allowed on Flickr”. None of them convinced me.
“If I had asked my customers what they wanted, they would have said, ‘a faster horse’”. – Henry Ford
The above quote is not meant to imply that videos are better than photos in any way. It does imply, however, that sometimes people are so used to the status quo that they can’t grasp the possibilities that come with change. To stay with the same analogy, people could still ride horses (post photos), while at the same time having the chance to drive cars (post videos) if so they chose. They both take you to your destination (self expression), it’s just a matter of how you want to get there.
Ok, I know the analogy isn’t perfect, but what I’m trying to say is that I could understand if people were protesting against something that would affect their ability to use Flickr for the purpose it was originally created for. But having videos on the website doesn’t change their ability to post and view photos and it certainly doesn’t force anyone to watch what they don’t want to watch. It simply allows users who also enjoy videos to have the opportunity to express themselves both ways, on a website they already enjoy for different reasons.
I like how this user phrased it: “they are only videos if you press play”.
And this other image that reads: “If you don’t like video on Flickr, then do the smart thing: don’t watch! Keep your hands off my content, off my right to choose”.
Besides, so what if Flickr was created with a purpose in mind and is changing over time? Nothing is set in stone, in fact, if you think that change is bad, you really shouldn’t be on the internet. This is one of the industries in which change happens more quickly and more often.
Also, if you think that Flickr is a photo sharing website, think again. This is narrow thinking. It’s a place for self expression and communication. It’s been done through photographs, now it can also be done through a series of still images that, put in sequence, give the illusion of movement. That’s what videos are. There will be bad videos and good videos just as much as there are bad and good photos on Flickr. What to watch and look at (or not) is a choice every user can make for themselves. It’s really that simple.
Update: After posting this, I found this reply from staff member Eric that I thought was worth sharing: