Should Twitter Buy Flickr?

Filed as Editorial on September 30, 2010 7:42 pm

A short time ago in a place not so far away (relatively speaking), founder Evan Williams uttered this statement explaining what Twitter is (and why it’s distinct from its rivals).

Twitter is a real-time information network. (via TechCrunch)

Although Twitter is often viewed as one of the first places to visit when breaking news happens around the world, the one thing the company lacks is the ability for users to upload media content directly upon the site (outside of a picture profile or a background image that is).

While this limitation has not stopped users from posting images and video via third party services, the inability to upload media directly to Twitter.com may convince new comers that the service is not worth their time (let alone tweet).

If Twitter wants to thwart the rise of Tumblr and match Facebook’s future growth, they are going to have add media uploads to their road map (and soon).

But instead of reinventing the wheel, Twitter might be a wiser alternative to purchase an established media service like Flickr.

A Network Worth 5 Billion Images

Despite being assimilated by the dying dynasty known as Yahoo!, Flickr still has displayed tremendous growth under the shadow of Facebook.

Acquiring them would make it easier for Twitter to catch up to Facebook, the latter who boasts a massive image inventory.

It would also give Twitter some much needed expertise when it comes to hosting a totally different type of content (as images are probably much more difficult to host/scale than text).

Video Moments Done Right

While there are zillions of videos services out there ranging from the mighty YouTube to smaller players like 12seconds, Flickr seems to be one of the few to have mastered the art of capturing a moment.

Instead of allowing users to film a 15 minuets saga or 12 seconds of random drama, Flickr contains users to the first 90 seconds, which is perfect in our “ever shortening attention span” that our generation lives in.

While Twitter could always expand this to 140 seconds (or 2 minutes and 20 seconds), Flickr’s short videos would easily compliment the tweet stream.

Privacy For The Win

Another advantage of Twitter owning Flickr would be that they could finally provide a way for private tweeters to upload images and video without using a public service.

This would also benefit users communicating via direct messages, as it would make it easier to share an image (or video) that may not be suitable for the public (note: as in kid pictures folks! Get your mind out of the gutter!).

Even though most of the twitterverse broadcasts their media for the world to see, having a way to communicate media privately might make Twitter more appealing to the masses.

Could Twitter Buy Flickr?

Yahoo LogoDespite their parent company giving up on the search war, Flickr is (more or less) a valuable entity in the Yahoo! universe.

However everyone has their price and Flickr might be able to flourish underneath Twitter (with users posting up to 90 million times daily) better than Yahoo! who is more or less still unsure of who they are.

If Twitter was unable to buy Flickr (due to cost or Yahoo! stubbornness), they should probably acquire yFrog (who specializes in uploading both images and video).

While hosting media content upon Twitter would present new challenges for the company, it could also make them more relevant in the future (as Twitter going bankrupt is less likely than a small startup or dying mega-company).

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