So far, one of the toughest parts of migrating my online identity from Earthling(and EarthLink) to just plain me has been moving my Flickr account from anearthling to extraface. I’ve spent a great deal of time thinking about the process, poking around in the Flickr interface and 3rd-party tools, and finally in the Flickr mail system manually sending messages out. For good reason, Flickr makes it tough for you to spam your entire friends or contacts list, and it’s equally tough to send a message out to all of the people who count you as a contact. So if you need to get a message out to a lot of people, like if you’re switching accounts, you’re left to your own devices.
On the flipside, I can say that I’ve never been spammed inside of Flickr, and identity has been a pretty trustworthy and stable construct. Although you can change your username several times, once you choose a personal URL (www.flickr.com/photos/extraface, for example), it can’t be changed. That’s part of why I chose to make a whole new account for myself, leave anearthling behind as something of a hybrid me/EarthLink account, and start fresh.
I didn’t find the perfect utility for letting everyone know about my account change, but I did find a couple of tools along the way that I would recommend for something like this:
- Migratr – I haven’t tried it yet, but this Windows app purports to download all of your Flickr photos with metadata preserved (except for things like favoriting and comments), and allow you to reupload them to a number of services including Flickr. I should be able to bring the photos I care about with me over to Extraface. I’ll let you know how this goes.
- Steeev’s Flickr Projects – In here I found an excellent Firefox Greasemonkey script that enables group mailing inside Flickr. It wasn’t *exactly* what I was looking for in that it didn’t allow me to group-mail from the list of people who count me as a contact, but if you want to send a message to all the people you count as contacts it’s pretty easy using this.
So how have I been getting the word out? Moving my own contacts over should be relatively easy — just a lot of looking at the old list and then clicking “add so-and-so as a contact?”
Telling people who have added me as a contact is more difficult. I suppose I could have written a screen-scraping script and then something to plug in a sequence of names into the Flickr mail form, but with my level of chops that would have taken a long time. I opted for brute force and pasted the screens I needed into a spreadsheet, cleaned it up, compared it to the people who have already added me at Extraface, and began the process of emailing the list one at a time to give them the scoop. I haven’t gotten very far with the mailing, so if you haven’t gotten one from me yet, you probably will shortly unless you’ve already made the switch. This morning I published the change of address image you see above, and hopefully that helps as well without too much bacony irritation.
I know identity migration is something of a special case and is probably reasonably rare in the world of Flickr, but it would be nice to have an easier change of address notification system. Any advice for how I could have done it differently, or pointers to other useful Flickr migration tools out there?