Flickr is the world's most popular social media site for photographers. Explore is Flickr's way of showcasing the most interesting photos within a given point in time -- usually over a 24 hour period.
Flickr receives about 6,000 uploads every minute -- That's about 8.6 million photos a day! From this huge group of images, the Flickr Interestingness algorithm chooses only 500 images to showcase for each 24-hour period. That's only one image in every 17,000! Getting Explored can greatly increase that image's exposure to the world.
For a professional photographer, like myself, this visibility can translate into income. One of my images was recently Explored to the #15 position (out of 500). Within a few days it had received over 4,000 views, and the Google search engine had placed it in the #1 position (based on the keywords associated with it).
How to find out if your photo was Explored by Flickr: Big Huge Labs has a web-based app for that, called "Scout".
How to get explored on Flickr: Flickr says, "There are lots of elements that make something 'interesting' (or not) on Flickr. Where the clickthroughs are coming from; who comments on it and when; who marks it as a favorite; its tags and many more things which are constantly changing. Interestingness changes over time, as more and more fantastic content and stories are added to Flickr."
The flickr group, Secrets of Explore has discussions on what are the measurements of Flickr's "interestingness". They have also included a link to Flickr's Patent Application that explains how Explore chooses images (if you want to be totally bored and confused ;o) .
Fellow Flickrite, Thomas Hawk, has several suggestions from his Digital Connection blog about gaining popularity on Flickr (much of which applies to Interestingness):
"1) Take great pictures. ...quality does matter. If you want people to look at your stuff, make your stuff worth looking at. 2) You get one shot a day...that matters. Choose it wisely. Make sure that the last shot you upload is your best. ...If you upload more than 5 at a time make sure your last five are your best and your last one is the best of the best. 3) Despite the top secretness formula of interestingness, it is really not that complicated to understand in broad terms. Your photos are deemed interesting when they have activity. When people tag your photos, comment on your photos, view your photos, leave notes on your photos, and especially when they favorite your photos you increase your interestingness rank. 4) Fav lots of photos. Be very liberal with your favs. ...If you see a photo you like on Flickr, fav it. Don’t be shy. It’s as easy as clicking on the little star above someone’s photo. Favs mean more to other Flickr users than comments or tags or notes or anything. 5) Post your photo to lots of groups and participate ...Don’t spam the groups, but if you have a photo of a bridge, put it in the bridge group. 7) Tag your photos religiously. Flickr allows users to search by tags (and especially to then rank their search by interestingness). 8) Above all, have fun on Flickr. Never take it too seriously."[Note: Numbers used are mine, and do not completely correlate with Thomas' blog article.]
From the Good 'ish Explore Missed group comes this quick advice:
1. Choose your uploads wisely. Uploading 5 images a day won't help that 1 amazing shot.
2. Tags! Tag your images and let search do it's thing! SEO sucks!
3. Don't put your image in more than 5 groups, the more groups you are in, the less chance your photo will be explored. [Make note that Thomas Hawk's advice of posting to "lots" of groups is more about gaining "popularity" on Flickr and not about getting Explored.]
4. Love people in hopes that they will return the favor and love you back. Generosity is key.
[Most of this mirrors what Hawk has said, but in fewer words. They just forgot the most important ingredient: Take great photos!]
1. Do not re-post your image over and over again on the same day (moving it up in time so that more of your contacts will see it and comment on it). It's okay to delete an image and re-post it the same day, or to take an old image and re-post it under a new title, to see if you think you can develop more interest in that image. What Interestingness will ban you on is using the Actions > View EXIF info > edit "Posted to Flickr" time to re-post your image on Flickr to the current time in order to have it reappear to your Contact over and over again throughout the day. This is a form of spamming. I do this occasionally on old photos that I want to revive (if I think it never received the exposure it deserved), but don't do on new photos or Interestingness will ban you.
2. Do not place your photos in the groups that force you to comment on images within the group, i.e. the "Post 1, Comment on 5 - or get banned" groups. Groups like 1-2-3 are okay because they ask you to make three comments for every image you post, but they do not require you to make those comments.
3. Do not post your photo to more than five (5) groups. This has already been mentioned, but it is a good idea to post your image in at least two or three groups for Interestingness sake. BTW, posting to a few more than five groups will not completely ban you from Explore, but it will lower your Interestingness score. I often increase my number of groups after the image is no longer eligible for Explore, because placing the photo with the right group (look for group names using keywords that describe your image) can often increase it's search engine rankings.
Thank you! By the way, let me thank all my Contacts for helping me get Explored yesterday -- that's the sixth time in the past 14 days!
(The top image adapted from 'Stars, Milky Way, Jackson Lake, Grand Teton NP'.)