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Deep diving into 2.0 data- learning from flickr

May 20, 2008

Students at LIAFA University in Paris partnered with a team at Orange Labs to do some deep dive investigating into the Flickr site using some data from 2006 and produced this paper.

They came up with some interesting findings.

- 20% of users account for 82% of all photos

- Pro users make up just 3.7% of users, but account for over 59% of all photos

- 39% of users are inactive

- 23% of users have no public photos, but have used the site to communicate

- 64% of contacts are reciprocated

- To become famous on Flickr you can’t just be a good photographer, you need to contribute. One of the star photographers made over 51,000 comments in an 18 month period

What the research shows is the amazing power of a very small group of users to shape the community. This group puts enormous efforts into tagging, commenting and discussion that turns Flickr from a photo storage site into a vibrant community.

Flickr appears to have managed this group really well giving them enough freedom and listening when needed.

The paper also notes Rebekka Guoleifsdottir from Iceland, the Flickr star, who has risen from obscurity to internet and real world fame.

As the Guardian pointed out in 2006.

“Three o’clock one Icelandic morning, Rebekka Guoleifsdottir couldn’t
sleep. There was a picture in her mind’s eye, and only one way to
realise it. So she picked up her camera, drove out of her home town and
stood in a lake for an hour, water lapping at her knees. She took
picture after picture after picture until she got the right shot.

It
did not appear on an advertising billboard, gallery or magazine but on
the internet, along with hundreds of other photos she has posted to
huge acclaim, catching the eye of the Wall Street Journal and Germany’s
Der Spiegel magazine. In the latest demonstration of the internet’s
power to launch careers, Rebekka has now landed a lucrative deal with
the car maker Toyota and is set to make a fortune by selling her work
online.

Yet just over a year ago the single mother was still
teaching herself how to use a camera, a Canon Digital Ixus, without
reading the manual. She had already put some of her drawings on Flickr,
a community website where users post their pictures for others to view,
and decided to add some of her early photos. The instant response was
encouraging so, despite having no training as a photographer, she
upgraded her camera and kept expanding her page. To date it has
received 1.6m visits, making it the most popular of all Flickr’s 4m
users.

‘The web changes opportunities for all kinds of artists,
like musicians,’ said Guoleifsdottir, 28, speaking from her home in
Hafnarfjorour, near Reykjavik. ‘It’s so much easier to get your stuff
out there. Iceland is a small community of 300,000 people and it’s hard
to get recognised, but this way you can reach out everywhere.”

Posted by Ed Cotton

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