I recently went on a nice, long vacation, and the first thing I did when I got back was to upload some of the best 200 or so photos I had taken.
As an experiment, I uploaded many of the same shots to two services--Flickr and Facebook. Both let users tag photos, so I wanted to see which ones would get tagged first, and not by me.
The winner? Facebook.
Just an hour or two after having uploaded to both services, all of my 88 shots on Facebook had been tagged. The most amazing part is that very few of them were tagged by me. Right after my upload, I tagged a handful of them, which in turn alerted those users to view the shots. From there, they (not me) went on to tag some more of my photos, continuing the cycle.
Flickr, on the other hand, was a different story. I uploaded close to 200 photos to the service. There were still the same shots of the same people, but there were also additional shots of landscapes or nature. Of those shots, only a handful were tagged, and only by one user--my colleague Stephen Shankland, whom I had pestered to look at my artistic capturing of sand castles. His tags weren't even of people; instead, he added descriptive keywords about the photos.
Now, to be fair, I have far more friends on Facebook than I do on Flickr--more than eight times the number to be exact. But in terms of photo usage, my Flickr activity far outweighs what I do on Facebook. I've only created 37 albums on Facebook which contain a total of 532 photos. On Flickr, I have 101 photo sets (Flickr's nickname for albums) which total 3,438 photos. More importantly, anyone on Flickr can see the photos I've uploaded, not just people I've put on a friends list.
A tale of two tags
So why are Flickr users so hesitant to tag other people's photos? There are many reasons, but the biggest is that the two tagging systems are just plain… Read more