There are numerous ways to share photos with your friends using emerging mobile technology that go beyond taking snapshots. Two of the most popular at SXSW this year are Instagram and cooliris.
Instagr.am lets you take pictures and immediately add design elements before tweeting them or posting on Facebook. Their focus is on “sharing life with friends” but with a twist of having users try to present their activities through the lens of their artistic creativity. The company may also be partnering with MeetUp to combine the immediacy of actual human interaction with the added layer of photographic commentary to offer a double permanence for any occasion.
Cooliris lets you turn a series of photos into an interative picture wall you can insert on your website or Facebook page. They also have a platform that allows for 3-D immersive ads for the iPad. Mayank Mehta from cooliris also noted on his panel on mobile photo sharing that their LiveShare App lets users access media they’ve created to mash and share with their friends. He made the point that the same app should let people communicate and engage in content in whatever way they wanted. Flexibility in mobile app platforms is key.
Community Not Commodity
Mehta and others on his panel pointed out that photo sharing sites need to move away from the idea of commoditization and offering “flavor of the month” offers that doesn’t build a relationship with customers. You need to “make users happy” or they won’t want to return. A site or platform should not just offer the framework for producing/cropping photos but truly let people “see through the eyes of their friends to the world.” Lifecasting-style photos (taking pictures of all events versus just standout moments) also connects children to parents more so that they’ll feel like they get to be with loved ones and have more to talk about when they gather in person.
How are you sharing your life with those you love?