Hipstamatic has seen better days. Ever since Instagram came along and stole its thunder by offering filters for free, the app hasn’t had the same following it once did. But the company isn’t going to take this lying down. After having to fire several core employees last August, Hipstamatic is bouncing back by debuting a new social networking app called Oggl. Read more…
New York City-based filmmaker Casey Neistat has strong opinions on social networks and how they should be used. His favorite one at the moment is Instagram, but he has a message for many of its users: “you’re doing it wrong.” The video above is his guide on how to “not suck so bad” with the photo sharing app. Don’t worry: it’s not about filters. (Be warned, though: there’s a bit of strong language).
You see, Instagram… it’s not about the pictures — it’s about the sharing. This is my family photo album from 1985. This album isn’t just precious because of the photography — it’s the documentation of life that makes me care. The magic of Instagram is that you get to peer into the lives of really interesting people.
As examples, he points to the Instagram accounts of rapper Rick Ross and singer Justin Bieber. While he’s a fan of both artists, Neistat says Ross is one that’s “doing it right”, as he regularly posts photos showing a ridiculous lifestyle that you don’t usually see. Bieber, on the other hand, floods his stream with photos of his own face.
Flickr users have made quite a commotion in the past couple days begging new Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer to make the photo sharing site “awesome again”, but how does one go about doing so? Mat Honan of Wired says that one of the site’s big weaknesses is user engagement, and conducted a test to prove his point:
I wanted to test out this notion. So at 3 p.m. on Tuesday I took a photo of a sticky on my desk and uploaded it to several photo-sharing services — Instagram, Flickr, Facebook, Google+, Twitter and Path. And just for kicks, I also uploaded it to MlkShk as an afterthought, almost a half hour after all the other platforms. MlkShk is a site with only about 20,000 users, but it’s a very engaged community.
[...] By the next morning Twitter was at 66, Facebook at 51, Instagram at 57, MlkShk at 46, Google+ at 19, and Path stalled out at 2. And Flickr, where it landed on the site’s “Explore” page that highlights the most interesting photos of the day? 23. Perhaps more damning than the poor showing in terms of up votes was how ignored it was in real-time. It was only even viewed a total of five times on Flickr in that first hour.
Online retailer Woot did a similar (unscientific) test earlier this month and also found that Flickr lagged behind the other social networks in terms of how engaged its users are.
After narrowly missing the opportunity to acquire Instagram, it seems that Twitter was eager to try again; this time with one of the most popular paid camera apps, Camera+. Apparently, Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey actually met with tap tap tap — the makers of Camera+ — to discuss an acquisition shortly after news of Facebook’s Instagram acquisition broke.
This news comes just two weeks after Twitter CEO Dick Costolo told the press that they would not be trying to acquire an Instagram competitor. It’s all the same, however, because negotiations didn’t end up leading to a purchase or even an offer. The main reason for the breakdown in negotiations was apparently location: Camera+ employees are located all over the world and were reluctant to relocate to San Francisco.
Photographers have already lodged complaints against the security firm that tried to prevent them from taking photos of the Olympic sites from public land, but it seems that even stricter rules will be imposed on ticket holders once the games begin. According to a freelance photographer named Peter Ruck, the Olympic organizing committee Locog intends to prevent attendees from uploading images and videos captured at the games to social networks. Read more…
One of the new darlings of the Internet world is Pinterest, a photo-sharing social network that has exploded in the past year to become one of the world’s most popular websites. In recent days, however, there has been concern over the fact that copyrighted images can be so easily reproduced and reused on Pinterest without the owner’s permission. A week ago Pinterest launched a special “nopin” HTML meta tag that lets website owners prevent “pinning” on their sites, and last Friday Flickr became the first large photo service to implement the tag, preventing “pinning” for copyrighted and protected photos. Previously Flickr was the third most popular source of pins on Pinterest, so this update will likely have a big impact on both sites.
Photo sharing is proving to be one of the main battlegrounds in the social networking war between Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. Facebook launched another counterattack today by increasing the resolution of displayed photos yet again from 720px to 960px, a 33% increase (last year they increased by 20% from 604px to 720px). Furthermore, the company claims that photos now load twice as fast as before. Read more…
The photo sharing feature on Twitter that we first reported on a couple months ago is now live for all users. This nudges the service a little more closer towards what Facebook and Google+ offer, allowing users to upload and share photos directly through Twitter. Third-party photo-sharing services geared towards Twitter users can’t be too happy about this — the founder of TwitPic turned down a $10 million offer back in 2009, only to have Twitter drink its milkshake a couple years later.
There has been a lot of discussion regarding social media sites and their scary-sounding terms of services that always sound like rights-grabs. Here’s what Photoshop guru Scott Kelby had to say after trying out Google+:
Of course, when it comes to posting photos on any social media site, the discussion always turns to copyright issues, and honestly I don’t personally have any problems with Google+’s terms. I don’t think Google is going to steal all my photos and use them for their own evil purposes (in fact, I’ve never read a single story about some big photo-sharing site misappropriating a photographer’s photos, or anything along those lines, so I just don’t sweat it. I know, I know….I’m totally naive—the big corporations are actually secretly out to get…..[wait for it...wait for it]…free photography).
Here’s what I do know: any time lawyers get involved in stuff like this, you’re going to have a lengthy legalese document that makes it sound like Google+ (or Facebook, or Twitter) is going to grab all your rights for now and eternity, when all they’re actually trying to do is keep their client (Google+ in this case) from getting sued.
Scott also writes that the magazine he publishes (Photoshop User) has similar scary-sounding terms that his lawyers tell him are needed to avoid “getting sued into oblivion”.
The photo-sharing startup scene is getting hot, with social apps on mobile devices receiving quite a bit of money and attention lately. Instagram has hundreds of thousands of users now after just a month, and competitor PicPlz just raised a cool $5 million from the same VC firm that invested in Instagram.
Another app that’s receiving attention is PhotoRocket, which raised $1.3 shortly after going into private alpha last week. It simplifies photo sharing for the non-technically savvy by allowing people to broadcast photos to people and social networking services by right clicking photos on their computer and selecting to share. The short 30 second demo above gives you a glimpse into how the service works.