Visualize Your flickr FOAF

Woah, nellie! I had no idea when I clicked a link that said, “do not, I REPEAT, do not go here” (the old teacher reports read “Alan does not listen well to instructions”) that I’d find this wildly fantastic flickr graph tool:

Flickr Graph is an application that explores the social relationships inside flickr.com. It makes use of the classic attraction-repulsion algorithm for graphs.

Basically it lets you visualize and generate a dynamic social network the friends and friends of fiends and the friends of friends of friends as defined in flickr. Each node you click on, moves to the center and blossoms with the network for that person. Whichever node is in the center has a link to “view pics” or to load their flickr page

So starting with Will’s network I re-organize to put mine in the network….


Now I must admit I’ve not spent much time going around adding flickr friends (I tend to explore flickr via tags) but now I have more of a reason. It makes for a new interesting way to travel the flickr network– where can I go with six clicks away from me (traveling by random picks of icons– note to flick-ers, best to create a flickr icon that is customized- the grey flat smile is pretty ordinary)

(1) cogdogblog (that is me)
(2) mrgluesniffer (brian lamb)
(3) striatic (they guy who did the cool Vancouver flickr map)
(4) eric (no idea)
(5) Jason Classon (no idea)
(6) — oops ran into an error could not go one more

Lands a flickr map that arranges itself to display my path:


And checking out jason’s images… well, he has a mix which liekly explains it self, fun images, beach images, warehouse images… the flickr grpah loads its own representation, and his URL, tags, and individual image icons are all links into flickr:


Every re-draw of the flickr graph seems to generate a slightly different map arrangement. A totally addictive experience. Check it out…

And this is why flickr is the über über über of internet technologies- it is easy to use, engaging, and its APIs allow for innovative add-ons like this example. It would be the opposite of the standard corporate approach to try and keep users penned in. If your internet strategy is aimed at making your site “sticky” to users (locking them into your site), remember that as individual humans, being stuck to something is not very attractive. We want freedom, the ability to come and go, to choose paths, to create our own ways of using content, to rip, mix. Flickr has got it nailed.

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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.


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