Friday, August 03, 2007

Flickr v YouTube : Crisis Response

Just reading a post from the Flickr blog about photos people have been posting about the Minneapolis bridge collapse. Once again I was fascinated by the perspective on news events that we get from the Flickr community. The world news services invariable present a very narrow and predictable window onto events. But Flickr allows a wide range of individuals to share these moments from their perspective.

One question that came to mind as I browsed the Flickr images relates to how video sharing services respond to these events. To test this I used the same search terms on YouTube as had been used in Flickr. The contrast was amazing. There were no personal videos of the event on YouTube (except for headshot of some guy talking about how he heard about it). Every video was taken from the news. Why is this? Does it tell us something about the communities that use Flickr compared to YouTube? Does it tell us something about the quite different relationship with have to photographs as compared to video? Is it really just a reflection on the availablity of still cameras compared to video cameras. My guess is that it's a combination of all of these (and no doubt a few I haven't considered). What are your thoughts?


rob said...

I would suspect it's mostly the third factor. Not only are video cameras much less available, but they are much less *instantly* available. I would guess that a lot of the Flickr photos were taken with camera phones. Also, people are much less likely to just happen to have a video camera in their car than they are a regular camera. While I can understand snapping a photo of a disaster like that if you happen to have a camera with you, it's a little odd to go all the way home, grab your video camera, and then go back to the disaster site.

geekglue said...

Thanks for the comment Rob. I mostly agree. There are a lot of still cameras capable of doing video as well as stills and not many of the photos I saw had that phone camera quality. It could also relate to the nature of the event. It happened suddenly, rather than over time, and what most people saw was a collapsed bridge at a distance. More suitable for a static image. But I definitely there is an element that reflects on the difference between Flickr and YouTube. Most Flickr users have a real interest in Photography. But most YouTube users are looking for entertainment.

DavidM said...

Agree with both comments as valid, but can be subject to change in the future for many reasons.

geekglue said...

Thanks DavidM,

sure. It's a moveable feast. Thanks for the comment.