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How many Facebook Photos can we take?

April 9th, 2010 by Jo Turner-Attwell

Recently I have been blogging a lot of media so I thought I’d do a traditional written post for a change. When I first started using Facebook one of the features I most enjoyed was the sharing of photos, and still do. A while back Graham blogged on the scalability of Facebook as a social network as people are beginning to have more contacts than they know what to do with, and statistics show that people are usually only in contact with a small proportion of these. I recently have been wondering if maybe these sort of scalability issues could apply to photos, as the amount of photos people have on their sites is reaching numbers in the thousands.
These are often people around the age of 18 and if Facebook retains it’s popularity what sorts of numbers will people reach in five or so years. Tens of thousands maybe? When things reach this stage, how would it be possible to organise all of these photos? I already find it difficult to save all of the photos I like and now rely on facebook to keep them for me, as the only true record of all my photos.
Will this be what Facebook becomes, a store of people’s life photos? My parents found that when they put together photo albums for my latest birthdays they struggled to find recent photos as the majority of these were online on Facebook and with no Facebook, they had no access to them.
I have noticed the significant amount of younger sisters, children, small cousins in pictures on Facebook meaning that when these children are finally old enough to enter the online world for themselves they already have a collection of photos waiting for them. This strikes me as an odd concept, as it means other people create someone’s online profile before they are in a position to do so themselves. It does however show how the perception of sharing information online has changed.
I recently have taken to browsing people’s profile pictures when i first add them on the grounds it is photos they have chosen to represent themselves and i don’t have to sift through large numbers of photos of half of their face. Maybe this will be the way things move forward, people will choose favourite photos or organise their photos into those that they feel best represent themselves for people to browse, whilst other photos will be looked at at the time they are uploaded for people to see what happened at certain event and will be compiled as part of a larger build up of a long term collection of photos.
My thinking on this is still is still at early stages but I do think it raises some interesting question as to the change in culture that sites such as facebook are creating and forsees some interesting issues for the future of sites such as facebook.

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