Sharing Photos through Social Media #mauiSMUG

Whats the big deal about sharing photos?

  • Its one of the easiest ways to share your experience, share what you are doing and/or capture information.
  • Sharing photos can build your community of followers and friends
  • A picture says a thousand words, that means less words to type in a blog post or twitter post
  • Pictures are a good place to start a conversation
  • Some examples of photos that I enjoyed sharing recently:
    • Tsunami damage, food I made, food I ate at a restaurant, the Maui shoreline and sunrise from the Molokai Princess, a new telephone pole install, some jewelry I made

Do my photos have to be professionally created?

  • Absolutely not, amateur photography is all the rage in social media
  • The best camera is the one you have on you, and even better, one that can connect you to internet, like a phone with a camera, or a camera with a eye-fi card that automatically sends your photos to a web destination
  • Possible mediums to take photos to share: Camera phones, digital cameras, smart phones, computers, laptops, ipads, Xoom, and more

Are there other photos to share?

  • Yes, you can retweet a twitter post with a link to photo
  • Repost another blog post with images
  • Remember to give credit to the content creator through links and mentions

What are some of the photo sharing sites? (links to these sites will be below this section where details on each of these sites will be provided)

  • flickr
  • smugmug
  • lockerz
  • plixi
  • yfrog
  • twitgoo
  • mobypicture
  • color
  • foodspotting
  • gowalla
  • posterous
  • and more….
  • (see below for links to all of these sites)

That is a lot of sites are they all the same?

  • Not at all. I will break them down below into digestible sections:


Photo Hosting Sites


Flickr calls itself: “the best online photo management and sharing application in the world” and has two goals: 1. help people get their photos out to the world, and 2. enable new ways of organizing your photos and video. It costs $24.95 annually for unlimited uploads. With yahoo’s recent sale of delicious to new owners, nobody is sure of the long term strategy for flickr, and if these fees will remain so low.


Smugmug is another photo sharing site. They call themselves just plain devoted to your priceless photos on their about page. They also mention being a place to back up your photos safe and sound. There are a lot of different privacy settings. It also acts as a place where photographers can sell their photos or use this site as a portfolio. It costs about $40 to $150 annually depending on your account from basic to pro.

For both smugmug and flickr you can share these photos to twitter or facebook, but you would do so by being logged into your account on their website, then clicking on your photo and then clicking share to the twitter or fb account.

See also photobucket, shutterfly, and picasa for more examples of photo hosting services. Also Zoorr, multiply, photopedia, zammel, daily booth.

Photo Sharing Communities

There are a lot of different photo sharing sites. Most of the time you will use them as a function of another application that you use on your phone, computer or browser. Which one to use a lot of times depends on the application you are using and what they happen to use to create the links. Sometimes you have some options as to which one you prefer, other times not. For example the twitter app on the iphone you can select your url shortener in your settings, under advanced, then image service. Options are yfrog, twitpic, lockerz, mobypicture, twitgoo, posterous, and I will review the differences between these below.

Deciding which one to choose is part personal preference and part what works most consistently for you.

Examples: is a community of sharers on twitter. The most popular photo on their site (as of 8pm 4/27/11)  is shared below and had been viewed 340687 times. A lot of Japanese users.

yfrog a community of photo sharers, for some reason I notice when you look at their popular images a lot of time they appear to be from celebs. It is another way to look at your twitter stream, I have an option to view a stream with photos showing. You can email photos into your yfrog account.


Twitpic actually has its own web definition via google and info on wiki (which I did not find for the two above). I think their API is widely used, making them a large photo sharing site. I quote the google web def and wiki page below:

Web definitions

  • Twitpic is a website that allows users to easily post pictures to the Twitter microblogging and social media service. Twitpic is often used by citizen journalists to upload and distribute pictures in near real-time as an event is taking place.
from the wiki page:

TweetDeckEchofonTweetie, Twitfile, and Twitterrificare iPhone applications that can upload photos from iPhones to TwitPic.[7][8]ÜberTwitterOpenBeak and Twitter for BlackBerryare BlackBerry apps that also have the capability of uploading images to TwitPic. WebOS phones may upload images to TwitPic using the Tweed application. Android phones can upload pictures to TwitPic with the Twidroid and Seesmicapplications. Windows Phone devices can upload pictures to TwitPic with the TouchTwit application. All INQ mobile phones have the capability of uploading a picture straight after it has been taken; this is due to the social networking nature of the phone.

You can have your twitpic set to show the public timeline, which means it will show you in real time, all the photos coming into twitpic as a stream. It works primarily with twitter. (not going to see fb options). Your privacy options include show your pics to public stream or not. They give you a unique email address to email photos to to get them into your Twitpic stream as well.


Similar to the other three photo sharing sites above. photobucket is parent company

View this great article on that compares, twitpic, twitgoo, and yfrog’s features in a graph (see below for just a small peice of their info, click below to get full article)

Image upload

Uploading methods and limitations by the service providers themselves.

Twitpic Twitgoo yfrog
Local file browsing Yes Yes Yes Yes
Transload No Yes Yes No
Email upload Yes Yes Yes Yes

*Twitgoo accepts pcx/psd/tiff too, but will convert them to JPG.
*yfrog supports video upload too, but since we are only discussing about image upload, I leave it out of the table

Image viewer

Features on the image viewing page and other relevant information.

Twitpic Twitgoo yfrog
Follow button No Yes No No
RT button No Yes Yes Yes
Rotate image Yes Yes Yes No
Social media buttons Yes, including email Yes, including email Yes, including email Yes
“Other photos” thumbnail 3 2 2 3, scrollable


Lockerz – Lockerz is a community of users that earn points as they connect, points that can be used in their shopping network. Its targeted for a demo of 13 to 30 year olds.

Lockerz’ mission is to be the homepage for men and women ages 13 to 30, building a community of trendsetters and tastemakers who love to shop, play and connect on the Web. As a members-only site, Lockerz has grown to more than 17 million members in less than one year, offering major discounts on the best fashions, electronics, music and more. Members earn PTZ® (“Pointz”) by watching videos, listening to music, answering daily questions, and through social commerce. Lockerz PTZ are then used to lower the prices of merchandise at-will. Based in Seattle, Lockerz was founded in 2009 by former technology and retail executive Kathy Savitt. Lockerz is backed by Liberty Media Corporation and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.


PlixiPlixi was Tweetphoto, renamed/branded in 8/2010. Plixi is another photo sharing community like Twitpic, but is also trying to be a bit more. You can create events, and then post photos as a group to an event (but I can’t figure out how to tell people to send images to my event). I like the way it actually shows the photos sent up with a post, however, your home feed will only show other friends using plixi, not your twitter stream. On the Iphone app you can only be logged into facebook or twitter, not uploading to both. On May 1st it integrates into Don’t know how this will change its use or look. It seems like it wants to do cool things but feels clunky to me. I don’t know how to add friends, can’t get the web interface to allow me to connect to FB, but it worked for foursquare, then posted the links to FB. Also web interface does not show the option to connect to twitter.


mobypicture – Mobypicture excels in linking your photo to many different social networks. With the iphone app I sent a photo, tagged it with keywords, and it went to flickr, twitter, mobypicture, my wordpress blog, facebook, and gives me a unique url for the photo, and an embed code (hence also acting as a photo hosting site). The tags came through nicely to my wordpress site and flickr, both places where I utilize the tag function. (me likey) All usage is free at this time, including iphone app.

What are the differences to other applications? permits connectivity between mobile devices and photo sharing sites as well as with blogs. With this application, photos with relevant heading, description and tags can be instantaneously uploaded from a mobile to a blog or to a photo sharing site.


posterous – posterous is well known for its use as a blogging site, but it is also a photo hosting site, and a photo sharing site. One of the biggest features of posterous that sets it apart from the other photo sharing sites is it can send your photo to so many other social networks simultaneously, great for leveraging your efforts. In addition every image or group of images that you share can create a blog post for you, basically you are instantly blogging in a blogging community, not just sharing at the microblogging level.

an example of a posterous post:

facebook – I have to mention facebook as an image sharing community, but I am almost at a loss for words. Of course i see photos on facebook, mine and my friends, and I comment on them there and it is a huge community, but i feel it lacks in the sharing department. A lot of my friends will refer me to their facebook albums, and create events in FB and try to use as press releases but this is very limiting as only friends can see these things. I rarely use FB as my primary photo sharing community, however I do participate in FB photo sharing by sharing my photos via posterous, mobyphoto, foodspotting, etc.

Location based Photo Sharing

Gowalla -

Check in, see where other people are checking in, look at photos of the place you are checking into, and see photos and check-ins for other nearby locations.

Foodspotting –

This is a community designed around sharing food. It has clever features like updating your facebook and twitter with links to your photos of food. It wants to you to build a community of friends within it. It has an iphone app that will search for food near you geographically and show you photos with remarks on location of restaurant.


Color – Color is tricky to explain so I am going to use the help of this post at []

Prior to joining Color’s founding team, DJ Patil was LinkedIn’s Chief Scientist. Via Patil’s LinkedIn profile, we see just how ambitious the Color team is about its product: “We’re out to change the world with how people interact and share experience through their mobile devices.”

Color is a smartphone app that enables you to share photos and videos with a group of people at the same location as you. Patil told us that there have been a “wide array of use cases” for Color so far. They range from large gatherings (movie premieres, tech conferences, music concerts) to smaller groups (BBQs, “journalistic events” like the scene of a car fire, cooking groups).

Patil also emphasized that the company is still exploring use cases and they don’t want to “impose our projection of how to use the app” on people.

What Happens to the Content?

There has been confusion about where the content generated by Color goes and how is it shared. Are the photos taken using Color archived? Patil explained that if you participate in a Color group, that content is not only shared in real-time with others in proximity to you, it also appears in the ‘History’ section of the app as an album. You can share albums, photos and videos using Twitter, Facebook, email or SMS.

So color is an app only sharing unless you have shared that album off of your handheld device to twitter, facebook, email or sms. – Instagram is a hot, fairly new app (released around 10/2010) for iphones that makes your photos look sleek with filters, you can have followers, your photos show a location (and you can use to check into Foursquare with a photo), and you can share the photos to your other networks and communities.

also foursquare, brightkite, yelp, loopt, boarding, going, and whrrl.

Note: There are so many companies out there and more getting created, and existing ones changing. I will try to keep updating this information here.

Ask a Flowchart: Where Should I Post My Photos Online?

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