Continuing on the Learning 2.0 program, the next activity was to look at some Flickr 3rd party tools. These are examples of Flickr users being able to develop their own apps to manipulate/interact with the images that have been uploaded to Flickr, the very essence of Web 2.0 and user interaction.
It’s perhaps unsurprising with such a popular service that there are a lot of applications. Many seem to have the goal of making Flickr easier to use, for example bulk uploading or tagging, simplified searching or integrating Flickr into your mobile device. There are various ways of viewing Flickr images, your pictures, picture sets based on tags or random pictures. There are some which use Flickr images to create something new such as Bubblr (in which you can choose ‘Creative Commons’ images and add speech bubbles to make a cartoon strip) and MobileMonet (which integrates Flickr images into a photo sketching/painting app for the iPhone and iPod touch). I was very disappointed that I couldn’t get Flicktionary (something like Pictionary using Flickr images) to work on my computer as it looked like it could be a lot of fun.
As I was looking through some of the many apps it got me to thinking about who makes these types of tools and what do they hope to get out of it. Is it with the hope of making money, finding that one in a million idea that becomes the next big thing or fills a need that we didn’t know we even had? Or is it a selfless desire to make something other people will find useful? Or perhaps a bit of both or even just a fun hobby which gives someone a challenge in their free time. I guess it all ties into the idea that the success and popularity of these kinds of sites/services is driven by the users and by the community but these sites are also about commercialisation and money-making opportunities. I am reminded of the reaction of the YouTube community when the company founders sold to Google for a large amount of money, putting forward the question that if the users were what made YouTube such a success why were they not sharing in the spoils. Also I think of the regular complaints of Facebook users every time a change is made to the website which they think of as ‘their own’.
I think as I work my way through the Learning 2.0 program, the ideas of participation and ownership are going to be popping up a lot.