Monday, March 10, 2008

Two Venues for Sharing Art and Photographs on the Web

There are two main ways for people to share their art images (and photographs) on the web.

One is blogging, the other is using

The way this blog was born was this. I was already blogging on my other blog, which focused on written material. When I wanted to write and share images of my creative exploration I chose to make this second blog on Blogger. I chose Blogger because I already knew how to use it. I was not interested in learning to blog on a new platform. I also wanted to do as little work with HTML as possible. I didn’t want the art sharing to be yet another new project because I had no time for that.

After I had been blogging for a while I realized Flickr existed, so I began a Flickr account.

I have been using both and wanted to share a little about how they are similar and dissimilar. I think that depending on the user's desires, one platform is better than the other. I am finding that keeping active with both is just something I don't have time for. Maybe knowing this can help you think about which is best for you.

One last thing I want to share is that blogging on Blogger is simple. You don’t have to know HTML (computer programming language) to use it. I keep hearing some people say they’d like to have a blog but don’t because they think they don’t know enough about computer programming. The point of was to have a ready-made platform for users who didn’t know how to do programming. And Blogger is free too, so money is not an issue.

Also to explain my situation and preferences regarding things I create, my main goal is to actually create the things I create. Secondarily I blog about the stuff I created, and share the images with the world via the blog. Thirdly I may put some of those images on Flickr. Lastly I discuss art making with others on the web. I have time only for one group, right now.

The one art related Yahoo Group! I am a member of happens to have Flickr groups attached to it. So I am using my Flickr account mainly to interact with the women on that discussion group to share my images. In other words we discuss things via email through the Yahoo Group! then we share the images of what we are making and chatting about on Flickr.

This blog and my Flickr account don’t show all the work I do, just what I find time to share with the world. The blogging and art sharing comes secondary to the making of stuff and the living of life that happens outside of making art for fun, for me. And lastly, for me, is the online discussion of art making.

What I've come up with for a compare and contrast of blogs and Flickr accounts is this:

1. Flickr is more image based. Each “entry” is an image. If you want to write about that image there is limited space to do so. You may not have enough room to write all that you want to write.

2. Blogs have unlimited space to write. You can make very long blog posts if you want.

3. If you just want to write about something (not share an image), you can’t do that on Flickr. Blogs would be necessary for that.

4. With a blog you can put multiple images inside of one blog post. For example if you wanted to talk about a project you did with a lot of words then show multiple images in that post, the blog format is perfect. It would be disjointed to use Flickr for that type of entry as each image is separated from the other and your writing would have to be split up underneath each image.

5. With Blogger your files are stored in reverse date order with the most current post at the top. You can use a category or label to cluster entries by topic such as “artist trading cards”, “collage” or “journal pages”. A reader must click on the label name, which is displayed in the sidebar, to ‘get to’ those blog entries.

6. With Flickr each image can be put into a ‘set’ which has a label. Sets are displayed as a little box with the word label and one image showing. To view a set the viewer would click on the set and then view the contents.

7. Flickr is more like a slideshow. It is more about looking at numerous images. You can quickly move through the images, by manually clicking to view the next one or if you set it to the slideshow mode, it moves along from image to image by itself.

8. Blogging could be more like reading if the blogger wrote more in text, or it could be more like viewing images, if the blogger chose to mostly only share images. It all depends on the blogger’s choice.

9. At Flickr you can join groups and upload your images to your groups. Then you can spend time viewing images based around a topic. For example one user may be in a group for landscape photography, scrapbooking pages, drawing with pencil and keeping an artist journal. If you want to sit and view lots of photos of landscape photography you can look through a group’s entries. Many groups are set for public viewing so you don’t have to be a member of that group to view the public images. Then if you find a Flickr user whose art you like, you can click on their personal account and go view anything and everything they have shared in their public account.

10. Both Flickr and blogs can be set to public viewing or private viewing only. In other words if you want your images or posts private, to share with private groups of people or even your own family only, you can do that. (A cool thing would be to create a Flickr account for family photos and having family across the country or world viewing lots of your latest photographs.)

11. Those who mainly want to share images or a lot of images may find it easier to have only a Flickr account. Those who mainly want to write may find a blog better or use a blog for their primary activity account.

12. If you want to be part of a community about the topic you are interested in, you can first join Flickr then after exploring, find groups that interest you and then join them. Joining Flickr can be a good starting point to begin getting connected to others who share your creative passion.

13. If you start off by blogging, you are not as connected to other people, it can seem like you are blogging in a vacuum and you may even wonder if anyone ever visits your blog. The Flickr community is a bit more of a social networking site based on image sharing which is conducive to as much social networking as you desire. If you don’t want to do any social networking on Flickr you can just be a lurker and no one would even know! However I do think that if you see something you admire it would be nice to leave a comment with your positive thoughts.

14. Viewers may leave comments on your Flickr images. If you allow it, your blog readers may also leave comments. The two platforms are pretty equal regarding viewers leaving comments and the degree in you respond back is up to you. I personally sometimes don’t have time to monitor the comments left on my Flickr account as that is yet another project and a way to spend my time which is already limited!

15. If you want to build other information, such as having a link list to your favorite artists or reference websites, a blog allows that. That type of information is not stored at Flickr (to my knowledge). In other words a blog can hold more general information that is like your own little place on the web. Flickr is a bit more targeted at just the image for the content.

16. Blogs can allow you to (try to) make money from them. Flickr is not set up as a money making platform. I have tried various ways to make money off blogging and it has not panned out as well as some users brag about or as some companies tout. For me blogging is not about making money, but if I can make some money while not spending a lot of time dedicated to ‘money making’ work with the blog I’m happy. In other words, I blog to blog and that is my goal. If money is made as a secondary occurrence then that is fantastic. I just have not found that the hours spent on trying to turn my (other) blog into more of a money-making venture have not panned out and take too much time for not enough money. On my other blog I am currently experimenting with BlogHerAds which are brand new to me, I wonder how that will pan out.

I could spend hours and hours looking at images on Flickr. One person I know from an email discussion list looks at Flickr images for entertainment and artistic inspiration, setting her laptop on “slideshow” mode, while running on her treadmill. I love that idea!

So if you have never looked at Flickr, I recommend it. If you want to share images via the web maybe this article will help you decide if image sharing on Flickr is best or if a blog is a better platform. Don’t be afraid to try either one! You never know what good things may come your way as a result of being a Flickr member or becoming a blogger…

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