Published on August 20, 2015
1. 1 Assignment 3: Flickr and Picasa Prepared by Bonnie Elaine Mager ID: 5662832 [email protected] In fulfilment of Diploma in Social Media Marketing This paper is referenced using the Harvard referencing style.
2. 2 Introduction Case Study 1: Flickr Ease of Use When creating a Flickr account, users must first create a Yahoo account. The function to connect using Facebook or Gmail (as seen in rival companies such as Instagram) was removed in June 2014 (Russell 2014). A small annoyance however, as Yahoo is free, and simple to join. It is easy to see that Flickr is a user-friendly web-based photo hosting client with an intuitive interface. A simple push of a button allows users to upload photos straight onto Flickr. With a huge 1TB of storage, users can store over 500,000 photos, for free (Martin 2014). No software is needed to be installed by the user. This has a huge benefit in a work environment, as businesses often lock down the privileges of staff members, making it impossible to download software without exemptions from IT. The web-based client also allows ease of use across multiple platforms and devices. Flickr also comes with a simple and easy to use Android and iOS app. With 36% of all online access now coming from mobile devices, and nearly 80% of social media accounts being accessed on devices (Kemp 2015) this is an important feature. Once uploaded, photos are added to a private camera roll which allows users to allocate photos to public albums. All photos begin as private photos until the user desires to make them public. Albums can be organised with differing levels of privacy, allowing a user to have private family photos in the same location as portfolios, work photos and more. Popularity In 2014, Flickr had an estimated 92 million active users with users in 63 countries and an average of 1 million photos being shared a day (Smith 2015a). The general trend for photo uploads on Flickr is upwards, with a slight decrease in 2014 from 2013 (see Figure 1).
3. 3 Figure 1: The number of public photos uploaded per month on Flickr from January 2004 to December 2014 in millions (Michel 2015) Photo Editing Features Flickr comes with an internal photo editor called Aviary (see Figure 2). Figure 2: A screen shot of the Flickr photo editor, Aviary. Aviary offers a wide range of photo editing tools, including but not limited to: filters, frames, cropping, resizing, brightness, contrast, saturation and red eye reduction. Depending on the depth of editing required, these cover most of the desired editing tools for any amateur using the service. Flickr also has a range of other features including the ability to geotag photos, use filters to categorise photos, and to choose the copyright status of your images using Creative Commons 2.0 (Martin 2014).
4. 4 The features offered by Flickr are only increasing, with a huge release of new features in early May 2015. These new additions include; a new easy to use photo back-up system, the ability to re-download batches of photos rather than one at a time, and image recognition to help group similar photos together e.g. wedding photos (Pogue 2015). Ease of Linking to other Social Media Sites Flickr is not only a photo organisation and storage site; it is also a social media site. Users have the opportunity to like and comment on each other’s work with the ability to create interest groups and share content. The ability to share photos to other social media platforms has recently become easier with the addition of a quick share button (Pogue 2015). Singular photos or whole albums can be shared onto Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest and via email (See Figure 3). Figure 3: Flickr’s photo sharing tool Shared Flickr photos have the advantage of showing up embedded within tweets. This is in contrast to Instagram which displays as an external photo only viewable in your browser (Figure 4). The embedded image makes the sharing of photos easy and seamless across these platforms.
5. 5 Figure 4: How photos shared from Instagram display on Twitter compared to those shared from Flickr Photos from Flickr can also be displayed easily in content management systems such as WordPress and Blogger through the use of widgets. Widgets allows users’ Flickr photos to be viewed directly from their blogs and websites (Martin 2014). Security Flickr has a range of easy to use and customisable Privacy settings for photos and albums (Figure 5). Figure 5: Privacy Settings for Albums and photos on Flickr Photos can be private, shared with exclusive groups, or shared with the general public. The integration of a Creative Commons section allows users to set the usage rights of their work in a clear and universally recognised way. Content can also be categorised by its type and safety level.
6. 6 Case Study 2: Picasa Ease of Use The first thing users will notice when accessing Picasa is that an external application is required to be downloaded before the service can be used. This means that users cannot simply upload their files in a web browser. This may cause difficulty when using communal computers such as cyber cafes and in workplaces. Upon installation Picasa requires users to search either their whole computer, or all of their pictures, documents and desktop files for photos, with no opt out option (Figure 6). Figure 6: Unskippable import photo option in Picasa Once all photos have been imported, users can then share these photos onto their Google+ accounts as the once offered Picasa Web Albums was integrated into Google+ Pictures in 2013 (Aguilar 2013). Users of Picasa benefit from an unlimited storage limit if photos are under 2048x2048 pixels in resolution. This restriction severely limits the use of high resolution photographs. Picasa does support RAW format for those with the technical photography skills to use files in that format – however the usefulness of RAW is hindered by the size limitations unless users are willing to pay for extra storage. Privacy and sharing data is controlled by users’ Google+ circles and preferences.
7. 7 Popularity Because Picasa is a Google+ app, the user figures recorded show users of the Google+ platform as a whole rather than the Picasa application itself. Although Google is undoubtedly the most popular search engine worldwide with over 2.2 billion users, less than 1% [111 million] of those users are active on Google+ (Schnecker 2015). Because of the way these statistics are recorded, it is hard for business to analyse the active users of the Picasa platform. Photo upload data is also scarce. However in 2013, 1.5 billion photos were being uploaded each week to Google+ (Yeung 2013). The reliability of this data needs to be taken into the context of Google+ as a whole. In 2013 Google+ had 540 Million active users (Alton 2014) compared to only 300 Million in 2015 (Ahmad 2015; Schnecker 2015). Photo Editing Features The Picasa application comes with a range of inbuilt editing features for amateurs. Similar to Flickr it lacks the precision and control of professional editing suites such as Adobe Photoshop CC however it still has a wide range of easy to use photo editing tools including cropping and red eye reduction (see Figure 7). Figure 7: Picasa Photo Editing Features
8. 8 There is also a range of lighting settings, can be altered through sliders (Figure 8). Figure 8: Lighting editing features in Picasa The last three tabs in the Picasa editing toolbar are a series of effects (some being quite gimmicky) to be used in social and fun ways, rather than for professional photography editing (Figure 9). Each “effect” or “filter” has its own set of settings to customise the contrast, brightness and fade of the effect. Figure 9: Series of photo editing effects in the Picasa Tool bar
9. 9 Ease of Linking to other Social Media Sites Once a photo is edited and ready to go, it can be uploaded to Google+, emailed or printed (Figure 10). Figure 10: Sharing options of photos in Picasa The ability to share directly to social media sites outside of Google+ is currently not an option. The only way to do so is to either link the post via an URL on social media profiles, or embed the photo using an embed code generated by Google+. Although at this stage the ease of sharing on social media is not a strength of Google Photos/Picasa, there may be the possibility in the future when google reinvents its photo sharing apps to include a Facebook and Twitter sharing capability (Kelly 2015). Security A few issues with privacy have been raised with Picasa, in relation to its Google+ integration. For instance, when tagging a person in a Picasa photo, Picasa then tries to share that photo, and the album it is contained within with the tagged person. Photo albums and individual photos can be shared to the public, private use only, or to various Google+ circles (Figure 11). Figure 11: Screenshot of Privacy settings on Photos and Albums in Picasa
10. 10 Comparisons 1. Site features As described above, both Flickr and Picasa have their merits in the use of social media marketing. With a range of similar and different features each site plays a valuable role on the photo sharing scene. Below (Table 1) is a summary and direct comparison of the features that would appeal to a business; Table 1: Comparison of Site Features offered by Flickr and Picasa Flickr Picasa Storage limits 1 TB for free. 1 GB for free Photo Organisation Photos are organised into sets and collections. Photos are organised into albums. Geotags Supported but locations need to be manually assigned. Supported, and locations are read from photos. Formats Native support: JPEG, static GIF, PNG. No Raw Support. Native support: JPEG, static GIF, PNG and RAW support Compression Original and uncompressed. Offer alternate photo sizes Uncompressed. Compress if original file exceeds space quota Visibility settings Public, private, friends, family, friends & family Private, your circles, specific users, users with a link, public Copyright settings All rights reserved; Creative Commons Supported. None Bulk action Supported Supported Presentation style Default: Auto-fit collages Default: Grid EXIF viewing Supported Supported Photo editor Yes Yes, with auto enhancement Photo Uploader Web-based and/or external application. External application only. Social Sharing Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Pinterest. Google + only. Phone App Apple, Android and Windows Apple, Android and Windows with android integration.
11. 11 2. Photo Editing Another important aspect for many users of photo sharing and storage sites is the ability to edit their photos with these sites - be it through a web browser, or in a downloadable application. The range of photo editing features of both Picasa and Flick is summarised below (Table 2). Table 2: Comparison of photo editing features offered by Flickr and Picasa Flickr Picasa Filters/ Lighting Effects Yes Yes. With sliders to alter the strength of the effect. Frames and Stickers Yes No Resizing and Cropping Yes Yes Focus Limited Yes Brightness, Contrast and Saturation Alterable through sliders Alterable through sliders. Also includes Lighting and Shadows sliders. Red Eye Reduction Yes Yes Others Drawing tool to draw on photos. Auto lighting and colour fixes. Can add text to photos. Recommendations Whether the film society uses Flickr or Picasa as their main platform for the film festival promotion, it is important to integrate with other social media networks as a part of a wider social media promotion. However, for this campaign type Flickr would be the site best suited for the job. With Flickr, promoters would be able to upload their content directly to the web without the need to install an external application. The in-browser editing suite offered by Aviary means any promotional material could be edited as needed and these photos would visible immediately within the Flickr profile. Although Picasa provides a more extensive range of editing tools, none of these extras would be overtly more useful for this sort of campaign when compared to the features offered by Flickr.
12. 12 With over 10 million common-interest groups, people who may be interested in this sort of event can be easily targeted through strategic placement within similar interest groups (Martin 2014). A quick google search reveals many film festival promotional sites within Flickr, indicating a strong user base and interest groups to easily tap into. Google+ photos also has a range of film festival profiles, however, the use of videos and the YouTube integration is the feature that is more utilized within these profiles (and successfully so) rather than photo-based campaigns. Flickr also has the options for users to define the copyright and usage of their content through Creative Commons. This gives users of Flickr the ability to have control over how their photos are used. The use of the attribution CC tag means that users can be encouraged to use the film festival images in their own way to create engaging and new works which would appeal to different audiences yet still allow users to trace back to the original content. The biggest benefit of using Flickr is the ease in which it integrates with other social media platforms. Albums can easily be shared onto Facebook and Twitter to gain a larger and more diverse audience. This is an important feature as it allows users to share the Flickr content to their friends and followers, helping to spread the word about the event. With 1TB storage, and no limit on the file size, Flickr would be a great tool for the film society as a visual archive of events. Unlike Facebook which is primarily a social network, Flickr’s photo sharing focus means that the organisation and display of photos makes them easier to be sorted and accessed for future reference. In relation to this, the draw back to Picasa is that the photos would all be a part of a Google+ profile, the format of which is a lot less effective at creating a visual archive of past events. In Flickr, you can easily access an “Albums” tab, to quickly find all photo albums of a user, and navigate to the one required (Figure 12).
13. 13 Figure 12: Album view in Flickr However, in Google+ photos, users can access a “Photos” section which shows all public uploads of that user, whether they are in albums or not (Figure 13). Figure 13: Photo View in Google+ One noticeable feature of Google+ photos is that Picasa uses the date a file was created or last modified to sort photos chronologically – a useful feature if photos if wanting to sort through event files in a specific date order. Final Recommendation For this film festival campaign, Flickr would be the photo sharing site best suited to the client’s needs. Firstly, and most importantly, are their social sharing capability which allows photos on Flickr to be easily and instantly shared on Facebook, Twitter and other social networks. This is vital for any viral campaign
14. 14 these days as social sharing provides one of the cheapest and most effective methods of online advertising. It would be recommended for the client to use this social integration to spread the word about the film festival across a range of social networks for optimal effect. Secondly, Flickr provides users with a web-based uploader which does not need to be downloaded, and works in all browsers as well as a mobile app. This means that photos can be added to the campaigns photo albums and stream from multiple devices and computers without first needing to get the needed permissions to download the application – which is most useful in business situations. This means that the client could assign more than one person to the upload and upkeep of this campaign, and allow it to be updated when out of the office. The third and final advantage to using Flickr is its well established groups and communities. With an active and engaged audience at its disposal, the client would be able to easily tap into these communities, using tags and finding relevant local or interest groups as a way to get the word out to potential attendees but targeting those who are the most likely to be interested in attending.
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