FYI Corner: Engagement in your Pocket (Flickr and Camera Phones)

Written by Daryl Johnston, Station Products & Innovation Intern

For quite some time, the cell phone camera’s popularity has been on the rise, and based on new stats recently released by Flickr, it is now officially a direct competitor with the point-and-shoot camera. According to the popular photo sharing website, the iPhone 4 is now the second most popular camera used for taking most of the 130 million photos uploaded monthly.

The overall top camera is the Nikon D90 S.L.R., but that might all change with the release of the iPhone 5 later this year which is rumored to have a high-quality 8 megapixel camera, which most Android phones already have, and will inevitably take some of the market share from traditional camera companies.

The primary reason for the increase in the use of the iPhone 4 on Flickr is due to the fact that many people no longer want to, or need to, carry multiple devices. They want one device that does it all - and the iPhone 4 does just that.

It appears that the traditional point-and-shoot camera is no longer the gadget of choice and may eventually become obsolete along with many of our favorite gadgets of days past. The first causality in this gadget war is Cisco’s Flip Camera which the company recently announced it will discontinue making.

Beyond that, the popularity of a smart phone camera amongst Flickr users points to a great way for public media stations to interact with their communities. If you look at the Social Media @Stations directory, you will see a healthy amount of stations already using Flickr as part of their social media efforts. These numbers from Flickr show that the ability share photos is literally in your user's pocket. This offers a chance for any station to create an engaging way to bring the community closer together through pictures.

As time progresses and the cameras on smart phones continue to improve, it will be interesting to see which new innovations and popular photo apps like Instagram, Hipstomatic, and PicSay become synonymous in public media content.


  1. I am still notorious for carrying multiple devices - the iPhone, my digital p&s, and my film slr. Yes, film! But I tend to disperse the devices to my two kids to help if we're in a place that taking pictures make sense. The problem is, I like what I can accomplish with all three cameras uniquely so I'm just not ready to move to one just yet. In the meantime, I need more hands!

  2. I just started using my phone to do "from-the-hip" type photography. I started a mobile blog here: