Monday, August 5, 2013

Using Flick for Community Engagement and Audience Building

Photo of SAWS Aquifer Storage & Recovery cascade aerationO.C. Fisher ReservoirIMG_0214O.C.Fisher_boatramp_2009IMG_0194lake_o.c._fisher_drought-1034-media
Skinny-LonghornTX Drought_7099Lake_Colorado_City_drought-_MG_1050Lake O.C. Fisher_drought-_MG_0986SAM_5253Lk Travis_Drght_0405
What does your Texas drought look like?, a group on Flickr.

Getting users involved in your outreach might involve the use of a photo campaign.  I'm a fan of these  awareness campaigns because people take some great photos and letting others become part of the process of outreach can lead to some lasting relationships.  I am going to use a What does your Texas drought look like? joint venture by Texas Parks and Wildlife, Texas Water Development Board, and the Texas Department of Agriculture to highlight the utility of using user generated photo's to create community engagement.
 "TWDB Executive Administrator Melanie Callahan. “It affects water supplies for cities and agriculture alike, and can devastate economies and natural resources. This photo campaign is a way for Texans to document how drought affects them personally. Showing the results of water shortages and ways to conserve are equally important parts of this story.” (Texas Dept. of Agriculture - news release  
Why Flickr?  Flickr does give users the ability to add metadata to their uploads which is a feature that all photographers (amateur and professional alike) should take advantage of and it has some nice visual impacts when photo's are shared.  In addition, these photo's can be shared to other social networks (like Pinterest) which increases the reach of the campaign.  If you run the campaign strictly inside of Facebook, Pinterest, or other log-on social sites,  you are limited to users who must have an account to participate.  Granted, you do have to create an account to upload to Flickr, but after that, the social interaction is up to you.

Back to this effort!  Upon visiting the Texas Drought Flickr site one of the most important aspect is that they have posted the rules!  Yes, the rules.  All campaigns involving public input should have clearly stated rules about the use of the photos once in the campaign.  This site covers copyright use and sharability.  Flickr has built in metadata tools to capture the user information into the photo, which is invaluable since you should tell all users up-front what will happen with the images.  Well done group!

Photo campaigns can take a little time upfront to set up, but in the long run they enable you to see your topic through the eyes of others, as well as share and recognize individuals for their contributions.  You can recognize them well after the initial campaign by using their photos (in the extent you advertised in the terms) with attribution in other postings or feeds.

Photo campaigns can take a while to mature, you have to keep advertising for people to contribute and make sure to stream or share photos on your websites to encourage others to participate.  We will check back on this one in the future to see how it went.  


  1. This is a great idea! Thanks for explaining it, Amy.

    1. I agree, let me know if you need to get in contact with the originators.