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I sometimes find it helpful to state the obvious ….
One of the major values of Flickr is that it is a low-entry mechanism for making photos ‘citable’.
You can give them a URI, a handle, that can be copied and exchanged, and which makes it that much easier for them to enter the shared network space.
The ability to copy and share a URL for most pages is one of the ways in which Technorati, Google or Amazon differs from earlier generations of services.