Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Flickr and Instagram

Shawn Blanc:

In short, my Instagram snapshots spark far more feedback, interaction, and conversation than my Flickr photos do. And I bet anyone reading this who has an Instagram and a Flickr account would say the same thing.

The conundrum, for me, at least, is that my Flickr photos — my best photos and the ones I am most proud of — are the shots I want to share with people so we can both appreciate them together. These are the ones I most want conversations to spark around, and yet these are the ones which get the least interaction.

The problem is rooted, I think, in perceived effort; Flickr feels like more work, both to browse it and to post to it. It’s highly technical, and it isn’t suited to casual consumption. To extend a metaphor, Flickr is like an article, while Instagram is like a tweet. I’d wager that Blanc sees far more interaction by others with his personal Twitter than with his website, despite focusing far more time and effort on the latter.

Flickr is markedly less popular — it has 87 million users posting 3.5 million images per day against Instagram’s 130 million posting 40 million photos every day. It’s coming back, but it’s still the email to Instagram’s text message.

In the face of dwindling Flickr interaction, I’m trying to use Instagram in a way that’s more explorative; treating each photo as something more significant than it really is. The increased interaction on my Instagram account feels warranted, even while I remember how dead my Flickr account is.