I would venture to guess that quilting attracts some people who tend to be perfectionists. Quilt piecing involves so much precision to make patterns fit together at the correct angle: first, small pieces of fabric must be cut with absolute precision and then they must be sewn together with the same precision. There is nothing more heartbreaking than spending hours cutting dozens of pieces of fabric, sewing them together at crazy angles, ironing all the seams open, flipping the finished square over and being faced with...a mismatched seam. Behold, the horror! I certainly did not want to post my failures online.
When this happened to my "February" block, I had no desire to add it to the Flickr group page: the deer aren't even facing in the same direction! Even they are trying to prance their way out of this horribly-aligned situation. I did log onto the group to see the contributions of my fellow quilters around the country. There were perfect ones and not-so-perfect ones. Some I loved, and some I thought were poorly made. I now regret not participating in the quilting photo group because I think that seeing each group member's contribution could have helped me with my own work and maybe I could have even gotten feedback on problems I was encountering.
This semester in "Social Media & Digital Cultures", I participate fully in our Flickr group's weekly photo challenge. Each week we find a photo that symbolizes or evokes an idea such as "social", "community", "online education", to use recent examples. We are encouraged to contribute original photos we have taken previously, or to take new photos for each week's theme. I am really enjoying reflecting on the weekly themes, finding photos that fit, or taking new ones to specifically match the challenges.
In a classroom setting, Flickr is a great community-building tool. A basic search for "using Flickr in the classroom" yields results such as digital storytelling, personal portfolios, chronicling events, and so on. Some teachers use Facebook pages or blog sites for their classes, but I think using an image-sharing tool is one way to take the pressure off of posting something "intelligent" or relying heavily on expressing oneself in writing. One concern that many teachers have with Flickr is monitoring age-appropriate content and limiting access to offensive photos. Since Flickr is an open, social media resource, I believe this discussion will continue to evolve as more people discover innovative ways to use this tool.