Many have written Flickr off for tepid innovation, but its persistent existence has made the service a most comforting home for our treasured photos.
Since 2005, Laura and I have shared a Flickr account to archive and share our photos with each other, family and friends.
Recently, Laura has been concerned over the safety of our photos and videos. “What if they go out of business?,” she asks. “Will they be around in 20 or 40 years? Those are my most valued possessions.”
It’s a valid question, as the lifespan of big corporations is declining. She also works in the magazine industry, which, indeed, has an uncertain future.
In a perverted way, I view Flickr like cash in our bank.
Cash in the bank, compared to most places, is more accessible, safe and destined to exist in the future (albeit susceptible to low interest rate growth).
Similarly, I believe our photos, stored in Flickr, are more accessible, safe and destined to exist in the future.
Hard drives crash, CDs get lost or corrupted and printed albums fade and burn in house fires (god forbid).
Flickr, on the other hand, is backed by a large corporation that specializes in media, data and storage at great scale.
Sure, Flickr could go out of business; its parent company, Yahoo, is not too big to fail. In fact, it’s a very sick company at the moment.
Regardless, when it comes storing my photos, I can’t think of a better place.
Flickr is the most established photo-sharing online service, backed by a moster-sized corporation, with all sorts of security and backups in place.
Even better — at least at the moment — I trust my data and privacy with Yahoo more than I do with any other of the major online companies.
Facebook, Google, Apple and Amazon are certainly more on the ball, but they all are trying too hard to grow and monetize me and the rest of us. There is something about that aggression that makes me feel uncomfortable in trusting them with my lifetime of family photos.
That doesn’t make them bad. This is simply a personal sentiment.
Even if Yahoo went out of business, I feel like the scale and integrity of the assets, community and operations are so great that they would inevitably transition to a new, sustaining home (or arrangement).
In some odd way, while many have written Flickr off for tepid innovation, its persistent, low-key existence has made the service a comforting home for our family photos — our most treasured treasures.
(Side note: see this video interview I did in 2009 with Caterina Fake, co-founder of Flickr.)