FriendFeed: A Better Way to Browse Flickr Photos

Lately I’ve been really getting into FriendFeed. Part of the reason that I like the site so much is that it provides a far superior experience to graze Flickr than Flickr itself. Don’t get me wrong, FriendFeed does not replace Flickr; rather, it enhances Flickr and provides functionality that Flickr itself does not. With that in mind, I put together a list of “The Top 10 Reasons Why FriendFeed is a Better Place to Browse Flickr Photos Than Flickr Itself.”

1. FriendFeed lets you see all of your Flickr contacts’ uploaded photos. One of the annoying things about Flickr’s “most recent photos from your contacts” page is that it limits these photos to the last 1 or 5 photos from their stream depending on your settings. This means that any time one of your contacts uploads more than 5 photos at once, all but the last 5 get buried. Not with FriendFeed. FriendFeed shows you the last 7 (that can be opened to like the last 35) of each and every upload session of your friends and contacts.

2. FriendFeed shows you what your friends are faving. One of the things I hate about Flickr’s Explore section is that so often the photos are just overdone blah. Too many overprocessed shots of babies, kittens and all the other cliches. Don’t get me wrong, some of the stuff in Explore is good, but so much is just not for me. What I do love, though, is favorite diving through great photographers’ favorite streams. I’d much rather see what Snailbooty or Kelco or aqui-ali are faving than what Explore is serving up for lunch on any given day. FriendFeed allows you to do exactly that. It shows you not only all the photos your friends are publishing, it also shows you a stream of what they are faving.

3. FriendFeed allows you to create lists and groups of friends. One of the things that limits Flickr is that your contacts are either “contacts” or “friends”. But I like to break my contacts down even more. On FriendFeed for instance, in addition to my Flickr favorite photographers I’ve also set up separate groups for photographers that shoot neon and another one for photographers that shoot graffiti and yet another one for photographers in San Francisco. You get the idea.

4. FriendFeed allows better photos to be bumped. What does this mean? Well if a contact of yours uploads some super great hot donkey shots, sometimes at Flickr if you follow a lot of contacts you miss these. They get buried as your most recent contacts photo page fills up. At FriendFeed, as others see great uploads, they like (sort of like faving) or comment on a specific batch of uploaded or faved photos. As your contacts like and comment on uploads, these batches of uploads get bumped to the top of your thread.

5. You can hide photos on FriendFeed. Once you are done looking at photos just hide them. They are then gone from your stream (unless you check the unhide button). This makes it easier to make sure that you are only seeing photos that you haven’t seen before.

6. Want to follow someone from Flickr who is not on FriendFeed yet? No problem. Just set up an imaginary friend for them. Want to follow someone’s photos but don’t want to make them a friend or a contact?  Same thing. Imaginary Friending gives you greater flexibility in following streams of others.

7. Want to see what Flickr photos the entire FriendFeed community likes the most? Then look at the best of the day, week, or month and filter by Flickr.

8. Do you have a special Flickr photo that you want to highlight above and beyond your regular uploads? Then post that url directly to FriendFeed. This way that photo shows up much larger to your contacts. Recently I uploaded my 16,000th photo to Flickr and I wanted to highlight it. So I uploaded it directly to FriendFeed. You can check that FriendFeed thread out here.

9. FriendFeed allows you to see what else outside of Flickr your contacts are up to. Why go to Zooomr, Twitter, Pownce, your friend’s blog, etc. etc. to see what they are up to when you can just tie it all in on FriendFeed. Your friends do have lives outside of Flickr, and FriendFeed allows you to see all of that in addition to their Flickr photos. Of course you can choose to hide everything but Flickr if you’d like to — the option is yours in terms of what additional sites and services you’d like to see.

10. FriendFeed is a great new community and a great place to connect with new and old photography friends alike. Check out the Flickr Central room on FriendFeed. It already has 233 members. There are lots of other photography based rooms on FriendFeed as well, and many of your Flickr friends and contacts may already be there talking about all kinds of interesting stuff and sharing great photos.

The only downside to FriendFeed? Crappy Flickr censorship. Flickr censors your RSS feeds and doesn’t allow any content that they deem “adult” out of Flickr. Even if you check the view option on Flickr that says “hey man, I’m an adult, seriously, I can handle Merkely’s nudes,” Flickr still won’t let you access an RSS stream that includes these photos. This sucks in my opinion but I blame Flickr for this one. Hopefully someday Flickr can begin treating us like the adults that we all are.

FriendFeed Podcast

Josh Haley, Mark Wilson, and John Worthington have launched a new podcast about FriendFeed. I think it’s an especially good introduction for people who are not on FriendFeed yet or who have just recently joined. Josh, Mark and John all recount their experience with joining the site and how they all got involved more and more over time. They also talk about some of the most popular stories on the site.

FriendFeed is more than just a great place to aggregate your own content across multiple web sites (your blog, Flickr, Zooomr, Pownce, Twitter, Digg, YouTube, Google Reader, Netflix, Amazon and seriously tons more); it’s a great way to find other great content out there and a superb place where conversations are taking place.

I’m thrilled to see Josh, Mark and John launch this podcast, I will definitely be tuning in and would recommend both the podcast and the site FriendFeed to everyone. Thanks, guys, for providing this valuable resource.

Leave a Reply