The Flickr team has up and moved this week to Californ-i-a and has
been singing Beach Boys songs non-stop since arrival. And you’re
We’re moving each and every pixel, bit, and byte, all your data, lock,
stock, and barrel, from our humble server shack in Canada to our new
server palace in the U.S. of A!
This process will begin during the week of June 28 and will result in
speediness, stableness, and happiness. For more information, please
visit the FAQ about the data center move.
Thank you, Flickreebies, for making Flickr such a wonderful place to
share, connect, and befriend. We love you! (In an entirely non-creepy
– The Flickroobies
But we’re laborious here at This Blog Sits At. We sweat the details, interrogating them until they “spill.”
Here’s what we got when we tortured the Flickr email. Why the interrogation? If brand building is a process of relationship building, this could be interesting.
1) The email tells us something we don’t need to know. Indeed it tells us something that would otherwise have been invisible. (We don’t care whether Flickr is resident in Canada or the US, just so long as our accounts are available on line.) It seizes a pretext for communication. The motives here can’t be informational (or referential, as the linguists call it). They must be otherwise. Interesting.
2) Flickr doesn’t just announce a move, it uses a voice that is revealing and chatty. (They are singing Beach Boy songs at Flickr.) The tone is exuberant and a little corny (“Californ-i-a,” “U.S. of A.”)
This kind of communication is characteristic of contact between friends. We tell friends about the small, nonessential details of our personal lives. (The closer we are, the more likely we are to do this.) The function of this kind of communication is that it keeps us in sync. We might call this “phatic information.” It is designed to give us the sense that we are “in touch.”. (When do relationships end? It is precisely when this kind of information dries up and blows away.) Interestinger.
3) I wonder if we could say this is a performative (“wishing makes it so”) strategy. If Flickr talks to us as if there is a familiar relationship, then they create a familiar relationship. The full intention of the email are revealed: Flickr use a familiar tone to create a familiar relationship, and so to create an intimacy and bond. Interestingest.
4) Actually, the tone is not merely intimate, it is sentimental. “Thank you for making Flickr such a wonderful place to share, connect, and befriend. We love you!” To my flinty, Protestant soul, this feels like it goes right over the top. I am grateful that Flickr provides a service. Their love, I can take or leave. On second thought, I will leave it. Hmm. Less interesting.
5) But here’s the thing that really struck me, the people at Flickr call themselves Flickroobies and they call us Flickreebies. Suddenly, I feel like I am back at a United Church summer camp where they were used to put us into groups of 4 or 5 and give us "jazzy" names designed to whip up a little tribal enthusiasm without actually encouraging us to stage an amateur production of Lord of the Flies. (Naturally, we did anyhow.)
Strickly speaking, I don’t care what the people at Flickr call themselves. But I am pretty sure I do not wish to be called a Flickroobie or even to know that I am so called at Flickr.
Call it an arc. The first three stages move upward, using simple linguistic strategies to help build the Flickr brand, and then, Icarus like, things go too far, and the entire enterprise comes crashing down. Hey, it’s still early days and we are learning.