Flickr

BlogCampSwitzerland 3.0 Flickr-Blog Integration


I had the excellent opportunity to join in the third BarCamp in Zurich. BlogCamp Switzerland 3.0 was held on August 29th, 2008 at the Technopark in Zurich. ?This was my second attendance at BlogCamp Switzerland, I did a talk at the first one on March 24th, 2007 where I gave a talk called ?Photography and Writing for Blogs.


BlogCamp Switzerland 3.0 included a cool mix of people and ideas.  I listened to Cédric Hüsler (http://keepthebyte.ch/blog.html) talk about the impact of polling feed networks and how much traffic is wasted on checking if blogs have been updated.  In the afternoon I went to hear Patrick Liechti from Sun Microsystems talk about organizing a Startup BarCamp type conference to educate people on how to form and succeed with new startups.  This underscores the advantage of attending a BarCamp, lots of new ideas and exposure to new areas.  I’m looking forward to attending BarCamp Berlin 3, which will be the third for that awesome city.


This time I put together a talk centered on using Flickr as a way to integrate photography into a blogging workflow.  This sounds a bit technical and boring, but I tried to get all blogging philosophical and hit on the idea that photos can be used to instantly communicate feelings in invoke emotional responses in ways which aren’t possible by blogging just using text.


The fusion of text blogs with Flickr postings means you can market your blog content to a large number of people who are interested in visual stimulation.  If your images communicate an essential message, they can be used as ways to bring traffic to your site.  Furthermore, using the community aspects of Flickr enables very good interaction with blog readers.  David Hobby knows this, the author of Strobist has skillfully used Flickr to build a reader base that wouldn’t have been possible if he had only blogged using his Blogger account.  And after learning some things from David, I used Flickr to market my blog posts about photographer Joey Lawrence and his Photoshop DVD Tutorial with the Strobist Flickr group discussion board.  I also hit on how Flickr is currently one of the best solutions to the problem of finding photos on an internet when search engines are still all text based.


Anyways, since I’m exploring the transition from text blogging to integrated photo blogging I thought I’d add some video and audio to the mix.  This first one sort of sucks, but I’m looking to improve.  Below I’ve embedded a version of my talk entitled:


Marketing Blog Content with Flickr


Timing and Community


Sweet Flickr-Blog Integration

Creating and marketing fabulous pictures on Flickr is more or less the same as producing any fabulous web content. If you produce unique things that people want to look at, then more people will look at your stuff. For Flickr this means producing interesting photographs or engaging images.



Generally, internet users are looking for content which holds value for them. This might be interesting news stories, connecting with friends, getting video/audio entertainment, or just learning about random things. In Search Engine Optimization philosophies, internet pages are designed so that the content, webpage titles, and metadata are all related to one another. So when Google looks at your page about the Ricoh GR Digital, it believes this page will be important for people who are Googling “Ricoh GRD” and as a result many people might find your content via Google.


Flickr operates in a similar manner. You produce photographic content, give it a cool title, add tags to accurately describe it, post it to relevant Flickr groups, and people will find it in Flickr, or via search engine queries (Google, Yahoo, etc.). Additionally, Flickr assigns it interestingness and based on that figure your images can get a ton of exposure on the Flickr Explore page.


Flickr coined (and patented) the term Interestingness as a way of ranking photos. Interestingness has been written about extensively and for good or bad is one of the main factors in determining exposure. Basically it’s the measure by which your photos might be viewed by thousands or only a few. Like all web content, Flickr images don’t have to be “good” in the technical sense, they just have to be…well, interesting.


My Flickr photos are generally not interesting, and instead I just set about producing images that I like and which I find interesting. If you set about trying to crack the Interestingness formula and produce images specifically for their Interestingness value, you’ll just end up diluting your own style. It’s the same reason I don’t write blog posts about WordPress plugins (a popular topic for any search engine).


If I wrote content souly based on how popular the content might be, I’d just be writing the same stuff a thousand other people on the net write about. I choose to be uninteresting and boring and rebel against the idea that blog posts have to be short and near useless updates to generate keywords for Google to follow. However, if you are into the marketing of you creative images and blog content, combining Flickr and blog postings is really a powerful technique.


Flickr and blogs were seemingly made for one another other. There are two things I have a real problem separating in life, writing and photography. With Flickr and blogging, I don’t have to. When I write blog posts they often include some sort of visual content, generally images from photo shoots I’ve done. It just makes sense to attract viewers to my written content using visual images posted on Flickr. Combining Flickr and blogs is painfully easy, and is a powerful tool for satisfying the content desires of readers and image seekers.


Why should you host blog images on Flickr instead of just uploading everything in WordPress or whatever blog platform you use? Because the integration of blog postings with Flickr posts can be very powerful, because by combining the two, you’re essentially expanding and combining two audiences, those looking for written and those looking for visual content.


The Basic Idea:


When people read your webpage and see an interesting image, they should be able to click on that image and be directed to the image hosted on Flickr. Conversely, when people see your cool images on Flickr they should be able to click on the link to your website (which you included in the Flickr description). Then, when people search for things on Google/Yahoo both your Flickr images (via Flickr keywords and tags) and web content will be indexed, and hence the two will increase the exposure of your digital content on the web via search engine listings.


Is Flickr-Blog Integraion Effective?


If you have a Flickr Pro account and a Google Analytics account, you can directly track how many people are referred to specific posts from Flickr, and how many people are going from your blog to your Flickr account. This helps in figuring out who is interested in your images and how that translates into more visitors to your site. This, of course, gives the keen digital content author the ability to optimize written and visual content for their visitors. I mean, if no one wants to read about how I use my Ricoh GR Digital camera, why should I write stuff about it? As it turns out, the written and visual content pertaining to my Ricoh GRD camera is some of the most popular on my blog and on my Flickr account.


The most popular posts on An American Peyote Scribble are related to Joey Lawrence, the Ricoh GR Digital and the Fuji GA645 cameras. Continuous hits come each day from Google and Flickr to these topics. And…often times the most viewed images on my Flickr account just happen to be images relating to those posts.


JoeyL Tutorial After


I originally started integrating my Flickr and blog content due to David Hobby at Strobist, who has pretty good Flickr-Blogger integration. Generally he generates interest in new blog content by first posting the images he’ll be using to his Flickr account. This generates initial interest for the forthcoming blog post, and gets die-hard Strobist readers on Flickr ready for his next blog post. Then he’ll post the the written content to his blog.


But Who Cares?


There’s no real long-lasting substitute for quality content. You can integrate your blog and Flickr accounts all you like, but if you don’t post high-quality (or interesting) images to Flickr no one will be interested and motivated to follow the link to your website. If you write about boring generic stuff on your blog, no one is going to care about clicking on your photo and heading to your Flickr account because they won’t care about the story behind your images.


Integrating Flickr and blog postings won’t in and of itself bring more people to your site, but by integrating the two together you can create a method whereby your visual and written content both are getting exposure and relating back to one another


I’ll still continue writing about what I want to write about, the stuff I find interesting. But it’s nice to have method for delivering this content to people who actually want to read it.


Rancor Courts Barbie

Photoshop Express – Divine Deliverance


In the dark ages there came to pass the revelation in imaging technology, which has since come to define and dominate the photo world.  Photoshop, has and will continue to be the premier photo editing go-to program for millions of minions – but it what form will the program take?  The introduction of Adobe Photoshop Lightroom brings the easy of photo organization and keywording to a new level.  Work-flows are faster, letting one access and edit images with gleeful ease.


But when one has images and feels a need to share them Photoshop and Lightroom falter, for they offer no output directly to the web.  And if your image are not on the web, then they don’t exist.  Images, like cartoons die without the attention of viewers.

This is why we love Flickr.  The easy of image uploading and keyword tagging means you can post and distribute your images across the web in femtoseconds.

What if some freak accident fused the awesomeness of Photoshop with the web-coolness of Flickr?



Bow down Earthly photo-crazed mortals, for the Divine ones from the digital sanctuary have again blessed us with new gifts.

Photoshop Express

The cosmic programmers at Adobe seem to have taken the best of Photoshop and Lightroom and fused those excellent image editing and browsing tools with the goodness of Flickr.

With a free Photoshop Express account one gets 2 GB of storage and a browsing and image editing interface similar to Adobe Lightroom.  You can upload images, edit them, their colors, tones, crop, fix exposure, red eye, white balance,sharpen, and do black and white conversions, but that’s not all.

Images can be distributed similar to Flickr, which means embedding images in websites and blogs and having them linked to you Photoshop Express account.  Naturally you can set up a gallery and show your images directly from Express.  The really cool thing is the images are not public until you make them so.  In Flickr everything is just up on your photostream.  Express also offers integration with Facebook, Photobucket and Picasa.

The Future with Photoshop Express?

Sweet Jesus, just imagine the future with me for a second…
You take a picture with your WiFi enabled camera, it uploads directly to Photoshop Express, with your WiFi laptop you do the editing and then distribute you digital media to blogs and website, all online, no computer program to load on a computer, it’s all online, in the air, across the radio waves.  The need for redundant backup harddrives at home is less needed and you can access and edit your photos anywhere with an internet connection.

...or whatever, brass tacks Photoshop Express is a pretty kickass – a cool photo editing and sharing platform, and it’s what we’ve been expecting for a while.  Program distribution over the net, and all you need is a license agreement with the provider.  Many are surprised Microsoft hasn’t already done this with Windows.

Here’s the future: No software, just onlineware, nolineware, and for now it’s freeware, but for how long?

You can sign up here:

Photoshop Express

And quick tutorials are here:

Photoshop Express Techniques