A picture may tell a thousand words, but all too often it's not that flattering a story. As many of us have learned to our cost, having the whole world see what we've been up to, courtesy of tags added by well-meaning friends, is not always cause for celebration.
However, tagging is the way the web works these days and, used properly, it can help you climb to the top of an image search results list and get noticed. Alternatively, tags can be used in a far more niche manner, so that only those in the know where to look.
You'll find tagging and other sorts of associative web trails all over the modern internet. But few of the best-known sites are as focused and user-friendly as Flickr. The website is almost entirely concerned with photos and beautiful images, and it presents a very pretty face to the world.
Flickr is remarkably easy to get to grips with. It's almost a model of Web 2.0 simplicity and easy to navigate. There are millions of photos posted on Flickr, yet finding relevant, interesting, high-quality photos, often along with interesting commentaries and detailed descriptions of the conditions or techniques needed to replicate the effects, are very easy to find.
The most populated topics have larger tags on the Flickr home page's ‘tag cloud', and it's a cinch to add to an existing cloud or create one of your own.
You may already have a photostream on Flickr, and the basics of posting and sharing pics are so intuitive that you'll hardly need any help. But this isn't the same site it was even a year ago, let alone when it first launched in 2004. We'll help beginners and experienced users alike get more out of the site's hidden tools and options.
Flickr doesn't have as many add-ons and widgets as some of the other Web 2.0 sites, such as Facebook, and isn't as customisable as the Firefox web browser. But it can certainly be personalised to work the way you want. If Flickr is your way of showing the world what you think, where you've been and what you can do with a camera, why not try some of our tips and show the world your best side?
1. To get started with Flickr you'll need a Yahoo ID. If you've already got a Yahoo email address or use Yahoo Messenger, you can simply sign in using those details. Otherwise, head to uk.yahoo.com and sign up for a free account. Now head to flickr.com and sign in. Click Upload Photos to get started.
2. You can browse to the photos you want to upload and select them individually, or download a Flickr desktop tool to automate the process. We used jUploadr. Right-click on the photo to automatically send it to a Flickr set or create a new one. You can auto-resize images via Edit, Preferences, Upload Actions.