Could flickr...?

Just so you know: this page was imported from my old blog. Some pages were rather mangled in the process; my apologies if things don't quite look right.

I have to admit, I'm a bit late in realising what flickr (the massively popular photo hosting website) can offer anyone and everyone who can be bothered to sign up for an account, for free. Possibly the easiest and most noticeable feature of the site is the ability to "tag" your photos (add keywords) and then show all photos from flickr with matching or similar tags. The other very clever toy is "tag clouds", which shows a list of the most-used keywords in a group of photos, sorted alphabetically, and sized proportionally to their occurrence on the site.

To be honest, it's easier if you just read their explanation on what flickr is/does, or take a browse around some of the (often absolutely stunning) photos on the site.

So I've been sitting here wondering if we can adopt some, if not all, of the great ideas they're using to make it easier to browse around's photo galleries, or even being able to allow every single member of to have their own photo galleries (possible), tagging system (also possible), and photo groups (uhhm, probably possible...?).

Of course, like the forums, there's no point to it all if no-one really uses them, so starting next term we need to do a bit of fairly ruthless marketing.

That said, I'd like to increase's usefulness to members a lot first - the homepage redesign, for example, should mean can be used as your homepage if you like a homepage that...

  • lets you carry out a Google search straight off
  • lets you create and categorise an unlimited list of links to your favourite websites - no more having to remember your favourites every time you change computer on the University network (although I'm told your web browser history now follows you around the Uni's computers... spooky)
  • helps your studies by providing links to free research tools (if you trust the internet as a research resource - for those of us that don't yet, maybe we could find some links to sites that help guide people new to online research?)
  • lets you see the latest news headlines from the UK, the World, or various Sport feeds (and remembers your preferences)
  • lets you quickly go to your student portal account

... and from a point of view...

  • lets you see your latest forum posts, diary entries, news articles and anything else you contribute to
  • and lets you see the latest Union news, photo galleries, forum posts, and what events are coming up at the Union.

That's a good list to begin with, but I want more - more things you can customise, more information, more usefulness (although not necessarily in that order of priority). Oh, and I want it all to load in a flash.

The question is, what would you like to see on your homepage? What can't you live without on the www, every single day? And what - if anything - could we do to make you consider setting as your homepage? (If that's not too ambitious a goal.)

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