When I started using WordPress about two years ago, I was interested in the platform specifically for the utility I saw in it. At the time I didn’t have the slightest idea about how to construct a system for managing content. I had begun to play with PHP includes, but that only gave me a slightly more efficient way of handling static information.
With WordPress I was able to easily build around a dynamic set of information. This was completely new to me. It was fun. But aside from these simple things I can’t claim any sort of noble reason for choosing WordPress.
Now I know more about why one would want to use WordPress. Not only is it simple yet powerful, but it is built on the beautiful foundation that is open source. WordPress is free, self hosted, and entirely customizable. I would also argue it is worthwhile for what it teaches you about PHP.
With the latest release of WordPress 2.5, a fairly impressive gallery system now comes built into the default WordPress install, complete with template tags. Matt Mullenweg has been the best example so far of this feature in action. He has uploaded thousands of photos up to this point (right Matt?) and this tells me the feature is fairly robust and can handle some heavy use.
I’m drawn to this new feature, and to the possibilities I see coming out of it in the future.
But right now I’m on Flickr.
At the time I chose Flickr for my photos, I really did believe (and still do) that the choice I made at the time was correct. Then. My options were Flickr, Picasa, Facebook, or nothing at all, really. Flickr was new, exciting, and social. Why wouldn’t I want to use it? Why wouldn’t anyone?
Now, a year and one half after starting my Flickr account (as well as coaxing others to join and start their own) I am reneging on my decision. I have been influenced, albeit late in the game, by some great open source literature.
Open source is free. More importantly, it means it can never be taken away.
Flickr, my current photo repository, is $24 per year. If Yahoo pulled the plug, the service would disappear.
Open source—more specifically, WordPress—is self hosted. I get to keep it on my server and maintain it myself.
Flickr is Yahoo’s. I can touch, but only in the way they allow.
Open source platforms can’t die.
Flickr could die.
I’m not against Flickr. I’m not even against paid photo hosting services in general. I know that these services provide very valuable things—social interaction, sharing, and printing directly from viewing screens, for example.
At the same time, with what is being pushed forward in BuddyPress at the moment (check out the site and sign up for the mailing list to get some of the inside scoop) I see these sorts of social interactions happening in an even better way than what is possible with Flickr. An open landscape sounds really nice.
I’ll be slowly moving over photos from Flickr to my personal WordPress blog (that’s here). Note that this has nothing at all to do with the recent decision over at Flickr to begin accepting video clips. Purely inconsequential.
Now I’m just excited to move forward and get my “media library” back under my full control.