Watch Flickr's Slow Decline in Graph Form

Competition from Facebook and Twitter has put pressure on the photo-sharing site

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The rise of social networks are what get people's attention; their falls not so much. Only when a declining social media site is shuttered or significantly contracts will it make headlines, like Friendster did in April. Blogger Nick Douglas at Slacktory has a chart about an another network, photo-sharing site Flickr, that may be going out with a whimper rather than a bang.

Douglas created a small index of seasonal and event-related photo tags popular among Flickr users--things like "Christmas," "February," and "Spring"--and tracked their usage on photos dating back to 1998 (Though Flickr was founded in 2004--and brought by Yahoo a year later--photos can be backdated to when they were taken.) By the measure he created, Flickr unloads peaked in 2008 and have very slowly declined since then, as can be seen in the chart above.

But the death knell for Flickr shouldn't be rung just yet. Douglas's analysis is admittedly imprecise and, with an Alexa ranking of 32nd, Flickr clearly remained one of the world's most popular websites. Nevertheless, Flickr lost members between 2009 and 2010, BBC News reports. Competition from Facebook, which significantly improved its high-res image capabilities in 2010, and Twitter, which unveiled a new photo service in June, has threatened Flickr's dominant position in the photo-sharing market. The pool of Creative Commons images is threatened, too, as it could start drying up if people stop posting photos on Flickr.

Though Flickr has been in the photo-sharing business for longer than Facebook and Twitter, it may need to start playing catchup by creating new features of its own. Another disaffected Flickr user recently blogged: "there is a distinct lack of updates and new ‘features’ on the site ... I think Flickr may decline until it works out how to refocus itself on inspiring its members and perhaps more importantly creating and fostering a better social experience between users."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.