Please don’t be upset or offended if I don’t accept you as a contact on Flickr.
This is not because I don’t like you. I am sure you are a lovely person. I just have no interest in viewing your pictures constantly in my RSS reader.
Let me explain Flickr contacts and how I use them
When you add someone as a contact on Flickr and you are subscribed to your “Flickr Contacts” rss feed, then whenever they add pictures, you get to see them real easily in the RSS reader of your choice. This is great, till you get flooded with pictures of a total strangers cat. Cute for like one picture maybe (if it’s a cute cat), but more than that? The only thing worse is looking at a total strangers baby pictures…
So to avoid this overload, I make a point of being strict with my contacts, limiting them to two and a half groups:
1) To keep track of what’s happening in the life of my friends. It’s hard to define exactly the people I class as “friends”, but they are mainly the people I have a genuine relationship with (either offline or online). Kind of a nebulous definition I know, but now isn’t the time for a whole debate on what constitutes a relationship in this Web 2.0 age.
2) To keep track of the truly gorgeous pictures some of my favourite photographers take and post on Flickr. If I favourite an image I tend to have a browse through the rest of that persons photostream. If I like what I see, I add that person as a contact.
stalk keep an eye on people who, whilst I wouldn’t describe as classic “friends”, I have a slightly obsessive desire to follow their life. Or I read their blog and know that, like myself, their online life is spread over many diverse sites (a personal website, a business website, Flickr, Twitter, 9rules, Facebook…) and if I want to get the bigger picture I need to be following them in multiple places.
And that’s it. I don’t demand reciprocity when I mark you as a contact. I totally accept that not everyone wants to be subjected to *my* cat pictures. But by the same token, if someone adds me as a contact I firstly do a name check to see if I know them. Then I’ll browse their photostream to see what they’ve uploaded lately. Then I’ll judge their stalk-worthyness. If none of my, admittedly arbitrary, categories are checked, then I don’t add the person back.
Simple as that.
Until the day Flickr adds a “send this person a message explaining why you’ve failed to add them as a contact” option, I’m going to have to explain myself here. As I have done.
Hope this all makes sense 🙂