Online photo communities are a great way to discover interesting photos, get feedback and make friends with people interested in amateur photography.
Like blogs and general social networks, online photo communities are web 2.0 applications allowing everybody to publish their own content without registering a domain name and without programming. With a few mouseclicks you can upload photos, add a description, post a picture to one of the groups or channels to share it with others interested in the same theme and give feedback to other photographers' works.
One major drawback of the web 2.0 approach in an international context is the unclear
legal situation concerning
1) what national laws are applicable (those of the platform providers country or those of the photographers country)
2) who is responsible in case of violation (platform provider or photographer)
Platform providers of most online photo communities specify in lenghty, but nevertheless relatively unprecise terms of service what kind of photos are acceptable or not. In an international context the cultural differences between Europe and the United States are often underestimated. As a consequence, photos that might be perfectly ok for public display in most European countries might be considered offensive in the USA and vice versa. While Europeans tend to be more liberal concerning nudity, especially in an artistic context, Americans tolerate some forms of Nazi propaganda that are explicitly banned in Europe for reasons we need not further explain here.
Major online photo communities are:
Though some online photo communities do promote their services as an online photo storage service, using them for this purpose is not a good idea. As uploading banned content may result in termination of an account without prior warning and because there is too much room for interpretation, you risk losing your account and access to your photos therein. Investing 100$ in an external USB harddisk drive is a much better idea to store your photos than paying the same amount for a two-year premium membership in an online photo community.
Especially flickr.com is known to delete free and paid accounts without prior warning if they think user content is not properly flagged as general (family-friendly) or restricted (adult only).
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