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Longtail of Social Groups? Nice Flickr Pools

flickr foto
Cactifitti
Cactifitti
available on flickr

This is a photo from last year’s trip to Hawaii, but someone found another one from this same place and invited me to share it in a flickr pool devoted to grafitti on plants (who woulda thunk?).

This is near the top of Makapu’u point on Oahu.

I usually wax about the beauty of the web providing a nice for every interest you can and cannot imagine. The twist that social software like flickr provides is an incredible enabler for this process, and for ways for both the niches to discover new niche-dewellers.

An event that has happened twice recently has brought this to my attention.

In my fascination for macro shots of flowers, I had popped up a shot of a bouganvillea in my year, it looked a bit like a human face. Ina matter of days, a comment popped in there, flattering me (nice touch, always), and inviting me to share it in a flickr photo group devoted to this flower. Now I would have never guessed there was a group devoted to this flower, but there you go.

But the kicker was today, when a comment appeared on a photo from last June in Hawaii, an oddball shot of some grafiiti carved into a prickly pear cactus.. And shazam, someone finds this, and gently lets me know there is a flickr group on Vegafitti:

The group deals with the narrow aspect of Graffiti that occurs on Plants (i.e. Trees, Succulents, and elsewhere while the plant is still alive). From the classic carving of the initials of lovers in trees with a heart around it, to more odd forms you may notice.

While many of these carvings may kill the plant and this group is not meant to encourage this activity, it is meant to document this aspect of human behavior, both artistically and socio-anthropologically.

Also, feel free to discuss the subject/topic or anything related to it in the ‘Discuss’ section.

So heck yes, I joined, and even dug through my CD of archived photos for this other one I had not yet posted on flickr.

Now one can just tsk-tsk at the strange hobbies and things people devote time to, but everyone has a passion for something, be it flowers or defaced plants or ….. But let’s not underestimate again the beauty, flatterning, electricity of being able to find like minded people in your niche of interest. This is the essence of social software, and like D’Arcy Norman said last february, it’s not about the software, its about the social processses it enables.

Silly hobbies or powerful connections?

And while on the subject, I was cleaning out my flickr groups subscriptions, and completely forgot that I had started one last year devoted to interesting photos that have achieved a PhotoShop like effect w/o any editing- In Camera No PhotoShop group — it sat there for months with only my 2 photos sitting in the shallow pool, but today I noticed ther are 18 members and over 300 photos…. and a lot of great commentary and discussion.

It works well in flickr because (a) it serves an indivudual need in an area of strong personal interest (photography) and (b) flickr has made it easy, quick, and fun to share photos and make comments.

Flickr pools are a great resource to educators, yet not very widely used.

I forgot the reference, but someone last year wrote about social software having a sweet spot between providing something of invidual value (organizing my own photos, searching my own bookmarks, syndicating my links to my blog) and the power of tapping into the larger shared collection of stuff. Flickr has hit this sweet spot almost as best as one can.

Now go out there and revel in your niche. You are not alone.

Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at CogDogBlog.com on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.