I see that today Flickr has renamed ‘Contacts’ to ‘Following’.
I know a lot of people hate change, but this makes a lot of sense to me because that’s what it has actually always been in all but name. Contacts on Flickr have always been initially unidirectional (ie. not actually contacts) and it’s only when the other person makes the conscious (and optional) step to reciprocate that it becomes an actual contact in the true sense; up until that point you are merely following them. All Flickr have done is make it more obvious. It also eases the pressure that people feel to reciprocate when people add them as a contact.
‘Friend’ and ‘Family’ appear to be unchanged.
One thing that does seem to be a little clumsy though is that in your ‘Contacts List’ (Flickr obviously haven’t finished updating everything yet!), it only lists your contacts as ‘Following’, ‘Friend’ or ‘Family’. There’s no indication as to whether it’s reciprocal or unidirectional.
I’m sure Flickr will tweak it a little more, but my initial feeling is this is a long-overdue and positive change.