September 14, 2011
Photo-sharing communities springing up around themes, places
In less than a year, the iPhone app Instagram has attracted 10 million-plus users, who use the free tool to apply various effects and filters to their photos and then share them via Twitter, Tumblr or Facebook. Now, digital communities are forming around the behavior of posting pictures while mobile. Instagram users can create groups based on hashtags—after Hurricane Irene, for example, there was #instacane. Here in Brazil, the third biggest user of Instagram, Instamission is a project created inside Instagram that solicits pictures tied to simple themes; #instamission30, for example, is “Shoot what makes you happy.” There’s also Instafood, which connects brands with Instagram users: A brand-sponsored award goes to the person with the best shot related to a food-themed mission, as voted on by the community.
Beyond Instagram, various apps focus on photo-centric social communities. The short-lived PhotoVine—a good idea that was a victim of Google shutting down its Slide operation—was built around the idea of “vines,” another take on contributing pictures to a theme. Some apps emphasize geolocation and the idea of preserving a place’s memories—Trover, for example, and the new Spotpix and Eeve. (The much-hyped Color was based on a similar idea but has changed direction.) EyeEm is based around both activity and place. Some apps are making the interface more dynamic, similar to a daily diary or social media stream, such as Tracks, which offers photo clusters for groups of friends or families (somewhat similar to Google Plus circles).
Brands can use these services to tell part of their own story (Burberry offers “behind the scenes” shots on Instagram, for example) and to provide a platform for consumer stories and passions (e.g., Bergdorf Goodman’s new Shoes About Town map of Manhattan, with photos from the retailer as well as consumers who add the hashtag #BGshoes).
Image credit: EyeEm.com