Tag Archives: Yahoo

Finally, I’m Understanding Tumblr

6 Aug

tumblr-logo

For the longest time, I’d been baffled by Tumblr. I didn’t understand how it worked, or its popularity. Now, I’m getting it.

What’s in your Tumblr? And what is that, anyway? Obviously we get blogging and social media, but Tumblr — while interesting — has never held my interest for very long until lately. I only started posting to the site when I started using Instagram because it’s easy to post to Tumblr while uploading to Instagram — basically, checking a box. I reasoned having something at Tumblr just in case I wanted to pursue it one day made sense.

Behold, my awesome Tumblr site over at http://rsmithing.tumblr.com

Behold, my awesome Tumblr site over at http://rsmithing.tumblr.com

Then, I discovered Pinterest, and have come to love that site for all the art I discover there, much like Flickr, 500px, iPhoneArt.com and several others. I kept on noticing a ton of images there via Tumblr, so that piqued my interest even further. And now I’m using Tumblr as a collect-all for my activity on these and other sites. The best part is, it happens with no extra effort on my part.

I’m using these automated actions through If this Then That (more on this later) to add content to my Tumblr whenever I like a photo on Instagram, Flickr, 500px, or create one myself, as well as other things like Pandora, Last.fm or Pinterest activity — stuff I’m already doing anyway for my own entertainment.

It’s nice to see all these things I like and ponder them in a different context in one place — where I’ve even customized my experience by modifying the html of a stock theme, and building in commenting functionality via Disqus. I’m also checking out who likes what I post, exploring to find content there that can re-blog right on my own Tumblr site. And so the cycle continues.

For me, Tumblr is another flavor of art discovery and expression through curation, which is what I enjoy so much about the aforementioned sites. I don’t think I can have too much of that in my life, and Tumblr makes a nice addition.

SNL’s “Drunk Uncle” on Tumblr, via special guest, Peter Drunklage (at about :45)

What do you think? Are you on Tumblr? How do you use the site? How did you to figure it out? Let us hear from you in the comments.

Flickr to Instagram: It’s ON!

12 Dec

I just had my first whirl with the new Flickr mobile app. And… woah. It’s good. I mean really good.

The New Flickr App for iPhone

Flickr’s New App. Shown here with the “Mammoth” filter. Look out, Instagram

The new Flickr app for iPhone sports filters, easy browsing, a nice uploading interface… all on top of Flickr’s superb online Pinterest & Twitter integration. Overall, I must say it looks like Instagram got Flickr to step up its game. To that I say, well-played, Flickr. Well-played indeed.

Instagram in the crosshairsOperation: Target Instagram

If Instagram feels like it’s in the crosshairs, it’s with good reason. I had long been a fan of Flickr for general storage, but gravitated toward Instagram for the image discovery & immediacy of sharing. I have a feeling that’s going to change. And not just for me — I know more than a few folks who have been less than pleased with and seeking alternatives to Instagram lately thanks to spam or yanking its previews from Twitter.

This is not to say it’s perfect. It’s still not as snappy as Instagram, since applying filters and edits takes a bit longer — but you can do meaningful edits right from within the app like adding text, brightness/contrast, and basic retouching. You have to use a separate 3rd party app at present to do any of that for an Instagram upload. Conversely, features like the ability to tag people in photos, browse your favorite groups, and do batch uploads (thanks, Emily @_@) were already baked into Flickr. Having these tools now in the mobile app — along with just basic functionality like being able to zoom in — makes Flickr’s app superior to Instagram on a number of noticeably important fronts.

Given the massive leap forward of this latest edition, I’m optimistic that things will only improve further for Flickr going forward. Here’s a closer look with video of the new app from Flickr’s blog:

 
What do you think? Are you a fan of Instagram or other online photo networks? What’s your experience with Flickr been like? Let us hear from you in the comments.

If you like this, share it on Twitter (and thanks).

3 Instagram Alternatives: Beyond Facebook’s Instabillion Buy

9 Apr
Disturbance In The Force

Join me and together we will rule the galaxy!

Did anyone else sense a disturbance in The Force recently?

You may have heard the news: Facebook Buys Instagram for $1 BillionMoves Operations to Secret Volcano LairIgnites Hipster Outrage.

I’m not afraid to say I love Instagram, and I anticipate continuing to enjoy it as a casual consumer for some time to come. It’s opened up a world of mobile photography and photo editing via smartphone that I never would have considered before. It’s been just enough of a social network to add engagement and hold my attention, while also making it easy and rewarding to discover some great images and have fun interacting with fun people.

I personally am encouraged by this news, since there’s only so much Instagram’s 13-person operation is capable of, and since their monthly hosting bill alone must equal the GDP of a small country. I think having the vast resources of Facebook will ease more growing pains than it will create, and I don’t plan to change how I use either service, for now anyway.

Instagram’s New HQ (rumored)

That said, this opens up all kinds of questions about whether your Instagram content is now Facebook’s content, if Instagram will now have ads, or if the whole Instagram experience goes down the tubes.

Whatever.

I’m not so concerned, because, simply, Instagram is not the only show in town. It’s service is one of the most streamlined, accessible, and, ironically, the most connected with other networks. I think that’s ironic because it’s these other networks that offer so much of what Instagram already does: easy photo sharing, mobile apps, and interaction with like-minded folks. They also come with web interfaces – something you only get for Instagram through 3rd-party sites like Gramfeed or Statigr.am.

These other networks might not have filters at the ready, but most of my photos don’t even use Instagram filters, since there are so many apps far more capable of turning everyday snapshots into appreciable art. And once you’ve become handy with some photo editing apps that suit your taste, here are three other photo-sharing networks to consider:

If you find this useful, share it on Twitter — thanks!

Flickr

While more general-purpose and slightly more complicated to use than other networks, Flickr is a fantastic value (2 videos and 300MB worth of photos each calendar month for free accounts) and has a very robust web interface for organizing your images. You can use collections, sets, adjust privacy levels for each, and plenty more. Just like Instagram, there’s commenting, favorites (likes), followers (contacts), groups, but then there’s still more beyond that. And they have a wacky sense of humor (big points from me for that). The Flickr mobile app is also a great way to browse images and see those of your contacts.

Hopefully, this could be the business model Facebook anticipates, where the service is practically independent from its parent: much-beloved Flickr is thriving, unlike much-cursed Yahoo. It might take a little more searching to find arty pics here, but it’s worth a look if that’s your thing. If mobile art specifically is your thing, you might like…

iPhoneArt.com

Designed by artists for artists, iPhoneArt.com has an inherent elegance to the interface, both on the site and the mobile app. Full disclosure: I’ve been featured as artist of the day there, but as I’ve noted earlier, it tends to make Instagram look like MySpace, since one major distinguishing feature is that you can only upload five photos per day. So they’d better be good. You won’t find the deluge of mediocre snapshots all over the place highlighted for their so-called popularity, but you will find a talented community of creative folk who are into pushing the limits of what can be done with mobile photography as art. If art beyond the mobile platform is what you’re after, you might like…

DeviantArt

No, liking it doesn’t make you a deviant (let’s hope), but DeviantArt does offer an enthusiastic community and tons of content, all sortable and searchable depending on what your interest may be. DeviantArt is truly a social network for creatives, with a slant toward the artistic. There’s not a specific app, but that’s a non-issue, since their ultra-slick mobile-friendly version of the site gives you the same experience and functionality as the full-site version.

I’m already on Instagram; Why Reinvent the Wheel?

Good point. You don’t have to abandon ship. And I, especially, am not eager to learn a new photo-sharing interface just because of an acquisition – heck, I just recently figured out Pinterest. But one thing to consider is that unlike many other photo sharing apps or networks, these particular examples are very well-established – either in terms of how long they’ve been around, the depth of experience they offer, dedicated user base… or any combination of these and other factors that are of proven appeal to many Instagramers.

So if you think the party is over for our beloved Instagram, have a look at these other, less-likely-to-be-purchased-by-Facebook networks serving up their own style of social art.

What do you think of Facebook’s Instapurchase? Are you already on one or more of these networks? What has your experience there been like vs. Instagram? Is there another network (not app, but network) you would recommend? Let us hear from you in the comments!
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