Chinese New Year Where I Am – Mapping UGC Photos

“Chinese New Year Where I Am” was a fun little project to collect and map photos of Lunar New Year celebrations around the world. We hadn’t really ever asked our audience to share any media with us before, so this was as much about testing whether we could get our audience to send us photos as it was about creating a final product.  But we did create a pretty cool final product! I ended up getting amazing photos from all across the globe – every continent except Antarctica, in fact!

The platform was Flickr, which ended up being both a help and a hindrance I think (I’ll explain that in a second…).

Here’s a slideshow of the submissions, or you can look at the map to see photos by location.

I had been wanting to experiment with UGC (particularly photos) for a while, so when I came across an Australian teacher’s Flickr group of Chinese New Year celebrations around the world, I thought it would be fun to work with her and get our audience involved in the project.

The great thing about using a Flickr group to power this was that we didn’t need to get submissions from our audience to make it a success. I spent about 15 minutes each day searching Flickr for people who had uploaded their own pictures and asking them to join the group – and most of them did.

The negative about using Flickr is that it is COMPLICATED if you don’t already know how to use it. We were asking people to both join a group and geotag their images. Not a great way to make it easy for your audience to share things with you. So the conclusion is, Flickr is great for projects where our goal is to integrate with the Flickr community, but not the way to go when we’re trying to tap into our own community.

But I had a great time working on this and we got some incredible photos out of it, which one of our other web editors actually edited into a little photo essay.

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