First of all, let me just say that one should never surf the internet while half asleep. Because when you’re almost falling asleep you tend to make decisions without using your brain, which is what happened to me around New Year’s. I was browsing through flickr as a means to put off going to bed, as I tend to do on so many late nights. As always, I checked comments that people left on my photos. At this time of the year there are a lot of Happy Holidays greetings and it’s always nice to get them, even from strangers who just happen to pass by. One message contained a link and when I clicked on it, it took me to another page that required re-entering my password. I thought it was odd that flickr would do that, but being half-asleep I was on autopilot and entered my password as asked. I was then taken to a page with a nice photo of a pretty girl and some flowers. I thought it was rather strange but didn’t think too much of and went to bed.
On Saturday I was still in bed when Jason yelled from the study that he couldn’t find my flickr account. Being half-asleep (I seem to be doing that a lot lately) I dismissed it as a glitch in the system. When I got up I had to take Libby to the vet and proceeded to spend half a day there. It was only after lunch when I tried to log in myself that I found out that my account was gone. Poof! My comments on other people’s photos, my faves, everything was gone. It was as if I never existed on flickr, except the groups that I created were still there, only that the admin is now a faceless icon instead of me. It was at that moment that I realized that I had been phished. I wrote to flickr help but it seems pretty clear that they cannot restore the thousands of photos and tens of thousands of comments that are linked with my account (those that I made on other people’s photos and those that other people made on mine).
On Sunday, I started to get emails asking me what happened to my account. Some are from friends and some are from people I didn’t know or remember. While it’s comforting to know that I am actually missed on flickr, it also made me realize that losing that account means losing touch with friends I’ve made on flickr.
I’ve been with flickr from almost the very beginning. When I first joined I had just started taking photos again after quitting my job, using a dinky little Sony T-1, yes, the first generation super-slim Sony mini cameras. I found inspirations on flickr everyday, and saw myself striving to do better. Gradually, I improved. Three years and three cameras later, my photos are regularly seen on Flickr Explore (the most interesting 500 photos selected everyday) and have even made it to the top ten on more than a few occasions. My photos were published in the Wall Street Journal thanks to flickr; I was commissioned to take photos for Le Gouter Bernadaud (a lot of photos on this website are taken by me) because of photos on my flickr site; and last year, I photographed a cookbook. I still find inspirations from people who I count as contacts: MatthewA, Imapix, speedM, bokchoyboy, La Tartine Gourmand, rosemary*, Ya Ya, Lulu & Phillipe, Tommy Oshima, pfong, just to name a few. I also value the comments and critique that people leave on my photos. To say that I feel that a little part of my life is gone when my flickr account was deleted is to put it mildly. The only saving grace is that I have double, triple backups of every file I’ve ever uploaded on flickr so the photos are not lost.
I don’t know whether I will or even want to attempt to rebuild my account because it was more than just a couple of photo sets, it documented part of my life for the past three years. I thought about not returning, but giving up on flickr also means giving up on all the wonderful people on flickr. Above all, the emails that people sent me saying they’ll miss my photos and a friend’s wise words made me decide to return:
“And remember, never get angry or else the person who did this will be even happier..never punish yourself with others mistakes..
At one point of time in life we have to go through such bad experience, stay cool and move on if nothing can be done..
Stay happy and bake some good cookies and a cuppa of great coffee on your weekend;O)”
So to the person who did this: deleting other peoples’ accounts doesn’t make you a hero or a smart guy. You will not get any satisfaction from me because I will come back and my photos will be even better.
And to the one who made the callous remark that I somehow deserved this: when I said have a nice life, I mean it. Stop stalking me!