socialseries Web 2.0

4. Flickr

Flickr is a social photo sharing site and it has lots of uses for libraries and librarians. With Flickr, you can upload, do basic editing and share pictures in a multitude of ways. Flickr has several different uploading options, one of them a bit of software that you can install on your computer to make uploading pictures really easy. It also has a “basic uploader” that works on the Flickr webpage and requires no downloading or installation of programs. Once you’ve uploaded your images to Flickr, then you can do some basic editing (red-eye removal, cropping and some image manipulation with the included PicNik features), organize them into sets and/or collections (collections are pro – $$ – accounts only) and tag them until they make sense to you and will be easily re-findable. After you’ve done all that, you can then share them. Flickr has built-in “add to your blog” capabilities as well as a way to get a bit of HTML to add to a web page. It has badges and slideshows and unique URLs for each size of each picture you upload as well as for each set, collection and tag you use to organize your pictures. It was built to make sharing your images as easy as possible.
With all of that in mind, how can libraries use this tool? First, the pro account is $25 a year and gives you unlimited uploads and storage. Get it. Second, it’s a really great way to share pictures of your programs, events, book displays, staff members, parties and your building(s) in general. Once you upload those images, remember, they are really easy to then add to your website. One thing that people love is images of themselves. If you post some pictures of a recent event and some of the people pictured attending that event start emailing out links to your website, you’ve just created free, word-of-mouth, viral marketing. Also, those pictures are there for your publicity folks to use in future mailings, fliers and web announcements.
Other ways to use Flickr are:

  • use your pictures to create inexpensive marketing materials (business cards, calendars, books, etc.)
  • Use some of the thousands of 3rd party applications to make fun stuff to post to your blog, website or to a community website (custom movie posters, jigsaw puzzles or trading cards).
  • Find other people’s photos to use in your marketing or creative materials (but don’t forget to respect the creative commons copyrights on each photo in Flickr).
  • Create a badge that is limited to a single tag and put that badge on your internal, more specifically focused web pages.

Flickr, more than many Web 2.0 applications, offers a ton of really fun things to do with your images (and those of others, too)! I’ve just scratched the surface of “things to do with Flickr” – do you all have any creative uses for Flickr at your library?

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