Instagram Got You Down? Don't Be Fooled By Flickr.

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Man! Instagram sucks! Let's all move to Flickr!
The Internet - December 2012

The same flickr which capriciously deletes the photos of paying customers? The same flickr which has catastrophic accidents? The same flickr who bans paying customers for commenting on political issues? The same flickr which one day decided that paintings and drawings weren't suitable for its site?

Yeah. I'm not ok with that. If you're "liberating" your Instagram photos to Flickr, you're merely trading one jail cell for another.

As I've mentioned before, we're moving to an era where people control their own content. They don't need to cede it to some 3rd party and hope that the terms and conditions don't change from under their feet.

So, what's the solution? People are saying "what did we do before Instagram? Oh yes, Flickr!"
What they should be doing is saying "What did we do before Flickr? Oh yes, self hosting."

That's where comes in. The premise is simple. You store your photos on your own storage system. That could be your DropBox account (500 MB free), your account (5GB free), or Amazon S3 (5GB free), or, or DreamHost's DreamObjects - or, finally, on your own server.

They're your photos - so you get control of them. You can easily back them up, move to a different hosting provider, or delete them forever.

You get a nice front end for your photos - with commenting, tagging, albums, privacy settings, mobile viewing and uploads etc.

openphoto example

You can change the look and feel of the theme to suit your preferences.

With a single click you can import your images, tags, comments, and metadata from Instagram, Flickr and Facebook. No doubt more services will be arriving soon - or you can manually upload your photos.

As I've mentioned, if you really don't trust any of the above storage providers, you can use the Open Source OpenPhoto to run everything on your own server.

Why on Earth would you want your photos to be held hostage by some nebulous third party? Even if you have a billing relationship with them, it won't stop them changing their terms and conditions, or "mistakenly" deleting your work.

Want to liberate your photos from the evil Instagram? Tired of Facebook's stranglehold on your images? Remembering why you left Flickr in the first place?

Here's the button you need to press.
openphoto logo

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6 thoughts on “Instagram Got You Down? Don't Be Fooled By Flickr.”

  1. AJ says:

    What about the social aspect when I'm hosting on my own server? What about the social discovery, similar interests etc aspect?

    1. The social point is a good one. You can enable commenting, sharing, downloading, etc with OpenPhoto. So your comments live on your server.
      In terms of discovery - I agree that isn't a fully solved problem. You can share a link to your photo and past it into Facebook / Twitter / etc. You can use RSS to follow someone, and search by tag etc.
      But, yes, for now there's no way that I can find of seeing "all photos taken by users tagged with X".

      1. AJ says:

        Unfortunately the social aspect is the killer feature that made Flickr so enormously popular and that along with the filters which rocketed Instagram to it's popularity levels! I have experimented in trials with other services (zooomr, photobucket a long time ago) and apps (pixelpost) but abandoned them eventually precisely due to the lack of the social aspect

  2. I'm afraid I'm with AJ here. The social aspects of Flickr -- in particular discovery -- and the network effect mean that I don't think that OpenPhoto is an adequate comparator yet.

    Instagram and Flickr (and Facebook and Picasa and so on) are all cloud-hosted central locations where you can go and see other users' photos. Even if most users were able to deal with the idea of self-hosting (which they're not, ignoring that it's a very retrograde step, taking us back to a decade ago), this would not meet most users' needs.

    The utility of everything being in one (or two) place(s) is what will be the deal-breaker. Blogs don't get the traffic that they used to; I can't believe that self-hosted photo galleries would.

    1. I guess it depends what you use Flickr for. I've never got the appeal of having my photos in a group (or whatever they're called) run by someone else. I like seeing my friends' photos - but they could just as easily be held on a dozen different servers. I totally get that it's enjoyable for some people.

      You can, on OpenPhoto, still have a single URL for your photos. Mine's (not live yet). Which, in itself, is not much different from the centralised FB & Flickr. The only difference is that the images are hosted on your servers - not theirs. Of course, this means the onus is on you to look after your data rather than hoping that a third party doesn't screw it up.

      I think you're wrong about it being a retrograde step. I think we'll see more content hosted personally (probably on a mobile device) which is then backed up redundantly. It's something that I'm trying to figure out at the moment - can you run a LAMP stack on your Android phone which is then permanently connected?

      Interesting times ahead, anyway.


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