10 Billion Facebook Photos: Are You Tagged?

BlogHer Original Post

The 10 billionth photo was uploaded to  Facebook this month. 10 billionth.

At least three of these photos are embarrassing shots of me, circa 1985, courtesy of a few of the several high school friends who have reconnected on the site lately. A combination of photo tagging and the incessant  Facebook news feed ticker meant it wasn't long before I was staring my 16-year-old self in the face - and in the hot pink stretchy cotton overalls (more horrible than they sound,) black pointy flats, and one of the most unfortunate hairstyles I've ever had combining in a perfect storm of 80s awfulness. And then there was the one in the uniform- blue and gray kilt, white Oxford shirt, sensible navy blue sweater - just after the Sun-in summer incident.

Photos may not be the first thing that come to mind when you think about Facebook, if you think about it at all. The company's profile says that the site "gives people the power to
share and makes the world more open and connected," though, and images certainly do support sharing and connecting. The recent launch
of the "new Facebook" format puts them even more at the front and center, making it
partially an illustrated conversation and a constantly updated
daily diary for heavy users. Photos can be posted in the intensely
interactive wall area both in original posts and responses from friends
to status changes, links and wall posts. Photo albums allow mobile uploading and easy 
updating of tags and captions. 

When the high school people tagged me, I Tweeted it.  Lindsay aka RockandRollMama
who is nice and has lovely hair, responded, saying that the photo was probably "cooler than I
thought."  She had not seen this picture. A few people DM'd me and said
I could untag it. I didn't. Sure it was entirely within my rights to do
it, but was it really necessary? Are 80s fashion faux pas worth the
message it would send to my rediscovered classmates - that I was
ashamed of who I was, and by association, what they were trying to do
in connecting us all again? 

Just a (heavy) thought. 

Caroline McCarthy wrote about the milestone at The Social,  a CNet blog, noting that although Facebook isn't solely a photo-sharing site, it's outpacing two online photo forces. 

the News Corp.-owned Photobucket, which has a real-time ticker of photos uploaded, stood at slightly less than 6.2 billion photos on Wednesday morning. Flickr, which is owned by Yahoo, hit 2 billion photos just less than a year ago..

She quoted a note that Doug Beaver, a Facebook engineer, wrote on the the occasion (on Facebook, of course): 

We recently hit a really cool milestone, our users have now uploaded
over 10 billion photos to the site. Now, that’s a big number, but we
actually store four image sizes for each uploaded photo, so that’s over
40 billion files.

To celebrate, we got a bunch of cupcakes and handed them out to our
engineering and operations groups. One of our engineers calculated that
if we had gotten one cupcake for each of our photos, and lined them up
side by side, the line could reach halfway to the moon.

 Miss Marigold at Revelife, a Christian blogging community, asks: "Should I detag my questionable Facebook pictures?"

I have nearly 1,300 pictures of myself tagged on Facebook. The vast
majority of them are very tasteful - pasta dinners with my college
crew, chilling during a church retreat, treacherously handling my
uncle's python - but I'm not gonna lie, if you go back a couple of
pages, you'll see a few shots of me out clubbing with the girls (and
the token male friend there to protect us from sketchy clubber boys.)...I haven't de-tagged any of them because I don't like being dishonest.

 Michael Zimmer wrote a useful post on his blog with step-by-step instructions on managing privacy settings for photos and other information.

Leanna Lofte at A Lofte Life likes the new iPhone app for Facebook - and what it does for photos. 

If Kathleen at the Daily Iowan blog had her way, there would likely be far fewer than 10 billion of anything on Facebook, especially photos. 

Facebook pictures are now and forever idiotic.
I'm paraphrasing someone who has mentioned this before... I just can't
help reiterating: those of you who bring your cameras everywhere and
take pictures to document your nights out and other escapades don't
even enjoy the event until the next day when you're uploading the
pictures onto your computers. IF YOU KNOW WHO SAID THIS LET ME KNOW
BECAUSE HE DESERVES AN AWARD. Having 1000+ pictures tagged to you does
not make you cooler. Especially when half of them you tagged to

 Jye Smith at A Digital Perspective has an easy breakdown of what goes on Facebook vs. Flickr.

I could talk at length about the social intricacies but at the end
of the day, I share my many and very ordinary photos of social
gatherings (getting trashed) with my friends and family - and it’s the
random comments made that are the most valueable.

And for those photos of mine I’d like critiqued and appreciated, I put them on Flickr because my audience there shares the same passion, that I do.

I believe this sort of sharing will continue to be a part of our
online life for some time to come, and as the web evolves these will be
come more and more defined. Hence, perhaps it’s not one ’social media
god’ we’re searching for.

How many - if any - of the 10 billion are you?

Laurie White writes at LaurieWrites, puts far fewer than 10 billion photos on Flickr and only a few on Facebook. 


In order to comment on BlogHer.com, you'll need to be logged in. You'll be given the option to log in or create an account when you publish your comment. If you do not log in or create an account, your comment will not be displayed.