In just over 2.5 years I’ve posted 1,380 photos on Flickr. I’ll be the first to admit that they’re not all brilliant; some are silly, some I put up to support blog posts, and some seemed like a good idea at the time. I must say, though, that I am frequently mystified by the responses (or lack thereof) to photos. Sometimes I post something I really like and it just sinks without a trace. At other times I debate whether to post something, only to have it get a huge reception.
Just before we headed north for Xmas, I posted this shot of an odd little stencil I saw in Dublin. It’s a neat stencil, and a technically reasonable photo of it, but it’s hardly amazing. Yet it caught some traction (perhaps in part due to synchronicity with the season) and ended up on Flickr’s “Explore” pages. This has lead to 60 favorites in four days, over 4 times as many favorites as every other photograph I’ve posted with one exception. I’m thrilled by the response (it’s always nice when people see your work), but according to Flickr’s “interesting-ness” algorithm this is currently the 5th most “interesting” of all the photos I’ve posted, a “claim” which clearly doesn’t bear any significant scrutiny.
I realize that any algorithmic determination of “interestingness” is going to have substantial oddities and be subject to gaming in various ways. And I suspect that the “rich get richer” part of this is a common experience for anyone who posts stuff on-line or, more generally, puts any of their work out in the public. Still, it’s weird when it happens.
OK, I’m done navel gazing – you can go back to your holiday revelry.