- You can choose not to participate by not making your photos public.
- If you choose to make your photos public, then people will find out about your photos by seeing them in real time as they upload through the browser.
- If you choose to go one step further and tag your photos, then this is another game.
- Do you want your photos to get noticed? Then tag it with something popular! Do you want to start your own 'game'? Then post a cool photo with a new tag and message on one of the Flickr discussion groups. If you are lucky, others will comment, leave notes and post photos with the tag. An example is squaredcircle.
Why does this make flickr successful where Friendster, Orkut, et al fall flat? I believe it's because flickr's designers are among the first (I can't think of others but they surely exist) who have grokked video game design and (more to the point) figured out how to translate it to the web. What does this mean? It means that, unlike say Zoto, which is just a tool for storing and sharing photos, flickr is inherently, down-to-its-bones about play. If you look at a list of the elements of a successful game, they are all present in flickr: a sense of space to explore, a range of challenges, a range of abilities which can succeed, the need for preparation and skill, a variable feedback system.*