Dear Potential Internet Contact/Friend/Followee,

When I find that a photographer on Flickr who seems interesting, I try to make a habit of looking at their Favorites. Looking at what they like often leads me to other good photographers and so on and so forth. And then sometimes I find you. You probably have a few photos I like. Or maybe just that one. But I’m not sold on the whole of your photostream; at least not yet.

Conundrum: do I take a chance and add you as a contact? Something about a photo or two of yours is compelling; I can’t quite put my finger on it yet. But I’m scared. What if your photos kind of start, well, sucking? What if you’re inconsistent? I’m very picky, you know. But then again, what if you’re a diamond in the rough and your photo future is so bright that have to wear shades? Maybe I just need to give you a break? If I don’t make you a contact right now, I’ll probably forget to track you down again. And then you’ll be gone forever, into the internet ether. There needs to be a better way.

I want a trial period. I want to kick the tires. I want to know if your photos are consistently interesting enough for me to want to see all of them (ostensibly in perpetuity). I want to try you out without going all “hey, let’s be friends” and making you a contact immediately. Maybe the trial period lasts 2 weeks, and then Flickr asks me if I like you enough to keep you and upgrade your status, or dump you and be rid of your photos forever. Maybe I can set a preference for how long I want the trial to be.

I know I could set this up myself by snagging your Flickr RSS feed and keeping up with that via a feed reader or browser bookmarks. And then I could simply delete you if I stop finding it inspiring/interesting to follow you. Of course, by that point, if I’m still on-the-fence it’s too much effort for something I’m not convinced of, so why bother? If only there was a way to do this within Flickr before I go all commitment un-phobic, I might find you to be awesome. I might discover contacts within community that I never would have given the chance, otherwise. This might be a really cool thing.

Wondering if any other sites are doing anything like this,