I’ve been sitting on this post for a while to let the dust settle over the buzz and debate that surrounded Flickr’s venture into video a couple weeks ago. What I found most interesting from the conversations that erupted across the inteweb was the sense of community (or lack there of) in Flickr and YouTube based on the comments the videos receive and the environment those comments live in.
People flock to both YouTube and Flickr for their easy portability that is supported by their simple UI design (read: easy embed codes). The general sense from people who use both Flickr and YouTube is that Flickr would provide a more relevant place to put videos due to there not being a clusterclick of comments. Comments on YouTube are typically stereotyped as being hundreds of negative remarks from users that are largely unknown to the YouTube “community”. It’s true that YouTube is more about the content than any social networking device, but the known lack of community management over negative and harassing comments on YouTube videos often gives off the same “hopeless mess” feeling as a MySpace profile design.
As Scott Beale has stated, “for the most part the comments on Flickr are relevant and add to the conversation, unlike YouTube comments“. This can partially be attributed to Flickr’s community management, both exerted by the Flickr team and the “self-help” tools like blocking that they provide to make sure that comments aren’t spam, harassing, or are just overall unwelcome.
Is it the community management or the content that has created a more relevant community? Is it that photography has become more niche than video, and thus feels like a closer-knit community? In ongoing discussions with colleagues about online social interactions ranging from Twitter to Xbox Live, seemingly, the less the feeling of having an active community management system, the less users feel a loyalty to the service, despite if all their friends are using it.