YSA has an annual event called National & Global Youth Service Day where young people around the world do service projects. Last year, YSA asked participants to post their photos on Flickr, using Race for the Cure as a model.
Ian said that after some experimentation, they decided to set up a group in flickr. (The groups feature in Flickr makes it easy for people to contribute photos from their individual accounts to a group pool and provides some ability to moderate the content.) YSA sent an email to participants with instructions and were very surprised to get over 1,000 photos uploaded into the Flickr group. Notes Ian, "It completely surpassed my expectations." The group had over 100 members and more than 1,000 photos. Ian says his organization will use Flickr and YouTube for next year's event. "I've already set up an YouTube account and uploaded our PSA."
Many of the people who posted photos had a formal relationship with the organization and in some cases existing MOUS. "We just added putting photos into flickr and provided information on how to do it." Some event photos were already in flickr. Notes Ian, "for whatever reason the Philippinos seem addicted to using Flickr. I just sent the users a message through Flickr to add them to our group. Some participants emailed YSA staff the photos and the staff uploaded them as well as some photos taken by staff.
YSA experimented with tagging photos in different ways so they could aggregate the photos in different ways to send to funders and partners. Notes Ian, "It worked pretty well but took a lot of time since the group was large & the photographers were not too good at tagging the photos." In addition, some duplicate photos needed to be deleted. As with other community or group tagging projects, it appears that having an "editor" who can add/revise tags is important.
Ian has been using Flickr for a little over 2 years and finds it an interesting tool to keep up with & see what his friends, colleagues, & similar organizations are doing. "It is especially cool in international projects where things are so different & exciting."
Ian says that the benefits of using Flickr helps brings focus to his organization's work. "Especially if the event is carried out through a network where your staff cannot be everywhere the event is taking place.
It gives everyone a feeling of community and shows what people are doing for your event. It also helps capture stories that are really compelling so you can retell them."