Flickr by the billions

A fascinating milestone in social sharing online was passed on September 17 when the five-billionth photo was publicly shared on Flickr, the online photo-sharing service that was in at the beginning of the social media revolution.

So for posterity, here’s that picture, taken by self-described man of the media Aaron Yeo.

Given the impressive number – here’s what it looks like written out: 5,000,000,000 – I wondered just how many pictures are uploaded to Flickr each day. I just uploaded a half dozen or so, and I’m probably a very light user.

Project this out: according to Royal Pingdom in their 2009 internet review published in January, there were four billion photos hosted on Flickr in October 2009. Let’s say the actual date is October 31. That’s roughly 324 days ago. So Flickr grew from 4 to 5 billion in that time, equal roughly to a daily average of 3,086,420 if we’re taking the most common definition of a billion: equivalent to one thousand million.

That’s more than three million photo uploads to Flickr every day during nearly all of the past year.

It’s a lot, isn’t it?  But it pales into the shadows if you consider that, according to Royal Pingdom again, Facebook had 2.5 billion photos uploaded each month during 2009. That’s roughly equivalent to a daily average of 8,333,333.

That’s over eight million photo uploads a day to Facebook.

So much content, so much to search – if ever there was a good argument for tagging your content online, and doing it accurately, this is it. Assuming you want your content more easily discoverable in Google, of course.

In any case, wherever you share your pics, there are an awful lot of them online!