Wednesday, April 09, 2008

The Eye of the Beholder

Of course the big digital media story today was the launch of video on Flickr, the popular photo-sharing site owned by Yahoo! Rhetorically, I was interested in how they might want to propagate the ethos of the evanescent "photostream" in the format of online video when their competitor -- YouTube -- emphasizes certain attention-grabbing kinds of footage intended for viral distribution. After all, this is a company, where users can also look at the photostream of "The Team" running the site.

As the FAQ explains, however, film clips are restricted to ninety seconds, which means even the lyrical showpiece example above from "Tanzania School Choir," which was at the top of their samples on their blog, gets cut off before the students can even finish their song. I'm also interested in how "simple" functions as a key buzzword and the way that Flickr capitalizes on the marketing strategies of the so-called "Simplicity Movement" with their emphasis on "the idea of 'long photos,' of capturing slices of life to share," as opposed to what the editors clearly consider to be tacky full-length wedding videos.

I love Flickr, even though I'm a bit behind on geotagging my collection of photos of minibars of the world or transferring my album of cell phone trees to the site, but this new service is also an obvious attempt to further monetize their corporate enterprise by encouraging more content-creators to pay for service with a "pro" account.

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