This article has been sitting in my “Works in Progress” folder for about 6 mos. now as I have been debating putting this idea out into the ether for discussion. But in that time, I’ve noticed a few more people starting to notice this same problem and I thought it was time to make it public.
For awhile now, the trend in app development has been to house all a user’s content but provide links for sharing. It’s an idea that’s worked very well. Instagram is a great example of this trend. It’s a great iOS app that allows you to take a picture and post it to Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Posterous, Tumblr, and even Foursquare (which also checks you in to that location using your mobile device’s GPS).
When the app first launched, I thought this was brilliant. I could take photos and then share them with all my friends on all the different social platforms I use. It was my one-stop photography app. But once I started to think about it, the idea began to not make sense.
Follow me here:
- Step 1) Take picture
- Step 2) Apply filters, etc.
- Step 3) Post to my blogs, Twitter, and facebook to share
My friends on Twitter could see the photo inline if they were using Twitter.com or they’d be taken to Instagram’s website and the picture could be viewed there. My friends on facebook got the same treatment - they were taken to Instagram’s website where the picture could be viewed. So, no one was visiting my blog. In fact, Instagram was getting all this free traffic that I sent their way because every photo posted using their app, provided a link back to their site. And what about when a new camera “app-of-the-week” came along - in this case, Camera+? Now I had some photos on Instagram’s site, plus new photo’s being posted to Camera+’s site. Both sites provided links on Twitter or Facebook for people to view, but what if tomorrow I decided I wanted to switch over to Flickr or any one of a hundred other photo sharing apps? I’d have my life strung out over many different sites and services.
What seemed like a simple idea is now starting to dawn on more people as they use different services. Any link or photo I post should come back to one central site that I control. The flow of content should be outward and in one direction - “Post Out, Not In". Otherwise, I was getting very fragmented. Sure, I could use all these great apps to post content everywhere and then collect them all later, but that’s a lot of work and I’d always be wondering what app do I use for this occasion.
With this idea in mind, I started weening myself off of a lot of the various apps I was using and began to find ways to only use my blog to absorb content. Photos are collected in iPhoto first and then posted to posted to various sites. Mobile snapshots are first sent to my blog where a link is generated and sent out to other various sites. And now, with the rights issues of TwitPic coming into question lately, I’ve even been thinking about watermarking my photos as well. Articles I want to comment on and share, music I find interesting, and many other things are first posted to my blog. There are still many thoughts or ideas that I publish first through Twitter of Facebook, but for the most part I try to keep everything of importance to me housed in one place. This is how my blog became my diary which I’ve covered in a previous post.
It’s an idea that for many is too much work - I understand that. And some people only need or want to participate in limited capacities online. Those people may only need to post a photo every so often and don’t really care about who houses that content. But one day, when they least expect it and they happen to capture a fantastic moment, they shouldn’t be surprised when they have no control over what happens next