March 18, 2023                                              

Flickr, Instagram, and the Free Lunch

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2023-03-18 15:30:02

March 18, 2023

The good thing about serious problems is they don’t go away easily, and you can keep writing about them for a long time. This post is long overdue: I planned to write it in 2019 but didn’t find the time. It’s 2023, and all I wanted to write still holds. Additionally, being able to witness Twitter’s takeover by Elon Musk confirmed my worries about the fragility of social media and resulting disadvantages for the preservation of origami publications there.

For many years, Flickr was the main site where origamists published their images and discussed their designs. I don’t know what brought people there first: perhaps some veteran of that age can shed light on this. Anyway, at the time I decided to more often publish my origami online in 2015, Flickr was the place to go.

In late 2018, Flickr, which was struggling financially, was acquired by a new owner, and introduced a number of changes to their business model. Free accounts, which initially could host an unlimited number of images, were to be limited to 1000 pictures. This move was poorly received by many in the origami community. A number of people announced they would be dumping Flickr and moving their activity over to Instagram. An exodus followed, with more and more users gradually moving to Instagram. While there still is an origami community on Flickr, it’s just a shadow of its former self. In my view, at this point there are very few new people joining, and those left are mostly veteran users who did not want to leave the platform behind. Pretty much all have by now started Instagram accounts as well.

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