We all produce lots of online content these days; photos, videos, blogs, microblogs, status updates, Tweets, that sort of thing. Most of the pictures I produce go up on my Flickr account and there’s a lot of photos, almost 3.5 thousand at the last count. Most of these almost 3.5 thousand photos are of my family, my wife, my children and last year I changed my default upload model from “anyone can see this” to “only friends and family can see this” and I went back and changed permissions on those photos I’d uploaded. On all of them. Or so I thought.
I’m writing this in my hotel room in New York, where I’ve been taking part in Yahoo’s Open Hack NYC event and I’ve been taking a lot of photos which I’ve been posting to Flickr. Some people seem to like these photos and favourite them; each time this happens I get a nice friendly mail from Flickr telling me this.
So this morning I went and looked at all the photos of mine that had been added as a favourite and I didn’t like what I found. There was a photo taken last year while on holiday; a photo of one of my children, a photo which I thought was “friends and family only“. I didn’t recognise the Flickr account name of the person who liked this shot so much, so I took a look at their profile. One of the things in your profile are the groups you belong to … I belong to two, both tech related. This person belonged to a lot and I had to scroll down a page to see them all. They were all of an adult nature, seeming to be centred around sharing snaps of other peoples spouses; you know the sort of thing.
This was creepy. Very creepy.
So I blocked the user and went through all of my photos to ensure that nothing else was inadvertantly exposed to public view that I didn’t want and luckily nothing was. I checked the Flickr Community Guidelines and one of them seemed to fit the situation really well.
So if you previously used to watch my Flickr account for photos, you’ll be a little disappointed as they’ve vanished from public view. I’m sorry about that. If I know you and you’d like to see them, just add me as a Flickr contact. If you don’t have a Flickr account and don’t want one, then please drop me a mail and I’ll send you a guest pass link to use. I probably shouldn’t be shocked or surprised by this but I am and today it feels just a bit like my Flickr innocence was lost. I’ll get over it and be a little bit older, a little bit wiser and just a little bit more careful in the future.