An interesting piece on MediaShift by Jennifer Woodard Maderazo…
With the plethora of social networking sites, it’s easy to come to the quick conclusion that what we are doing on these sites — chatting up strangers, lurking on people’s profiles, spying on friends — is just a waste of time. But there is one site that is more than just an unhealthy habit: Photo-sharing site Flickr is a photography school, art gallery and a sandbox for experimentation. On Flickr, bad photographers get schooled, mediocre ones get better and some even rise to the top as stars — all supported by an immense, and sometimes intimate, international community.
When Flickr founders Caterina Fake and Stewart Butterfield launched Flickr in 2004 they could not have expected the level of success it’s enjoyed among its users. There were already many other photo-sharing sites out there — among them Yahoo Photos, which would later be replaced by Flickr after Yahoo purchased the site . But none really had the ease of use and the kind of community tools that Flickr offered.
The opening — much online social networking is a waste of time — caught my attention as a view shared by many folks I know, but seldom seen online or mentioned by Web 2.0 cheerleaders. I know some folks who are gaga over Flickr for just the reasons outlined by MediaShift. Read the full piece.