Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Sharing Photos (Thing #10)

I've been using Instagram for quite a while now, and its a great app for sharing photos, one at a time!

I do think Instagram adding a video option was a mistake.  The sound is either on for all videos, and thus liable to play out loud as you're scrolling through your feed, or off for all videos, and then what's the point of a video? Except not to play out loud as I'm in a quiet place, scare me, and anger others. There isn't the option to turn your sound on for a single video while scrolling through your feed.

I find it fascinating that Instagram developed as a mobile app first and then a web version once it gained popularity.  It's also a rare thing that the mobile app has more features than a web version; on Instagram you can only view photos in the web version, not add them.

One of my favorite things about Instagram is that it is not built to be a place for mass sharing of photos, but intended to be a instant snapshot of what's going on in your day.  Usually just one photo per instance, so you have to be pickier about what photo you share.  Sometimes one great photo is much more effective and attention-getting, where multiple photos may get lost in the shuffle.

I see Instagram being successful for libraries with only one location, and much more difficult for libraries with multiple locations, especially considering you need to add from a mobile device.  Since our communications & social media come from a regional perspective, each of our 14 branches would need to have the app and access to a single account OR send their pictures to a single person who would then add the photos to Instagram, which then takes away from the "instant camera."

If I was a single independent library location, such as a college library or a library in a federated public region, I see would see myself posting images about daily life in the library as I stumbled across them.  Great new incoming books; mom & child snuggled up reading on the beanbag chair; teen snuggled up with a blanket, coffee mug, & homework in front of the fireplace for 6 hours; weird things we find in the bookdrop...  Here are examples of previous posts to my personal Instagram, that could have been posted to a library account with a few word tweaks here and there (my to our, etc):

(Dessert for #BookClub tonight!  Join us!)

Instagram is also a great place to host contests for patrons, requiring them to tweet pictures with a certain hashtag.  For example, for Hot Reads for Cold Nights Adult Winter Reading Program, instead of having patrons fill out review forms, they could  take a picture of the book cover, write their review in the caption, and use the hashtag #HotReadsforColdNights and tag @yourlibrary.  Its an easy way for you, as the library, to turn around and reshare them via your various social networks.

You can ask the same thing of patrons who attend your programs & events.  Its interactive and makes patrons a part of the documenting process!

Again, thanks to 23 Mobile Things MN for developing a list libraries on Instagram!

I downloaded and played around with Snapchat, and it's very easy to use, but I don't have a use for it.  My phone is private enough, I am cautious about who I sent what to, trust those I do share things with, and don't send anything I am not comfortable being out there in the digital world permanently.  I actually was shocked to see how many of my friends had it!  I didn't know that anyone did.

Privacy & temporariness is both the draw and the con of Snapchat.

"Teenagers and young adults like that their photos and videos are temporary. It gives them more freedom to share silly or private expressions, knowing that they won’t be stored for anyone to see again. There’s no record left behind for parents or potential employers to find." 

In a world where teenagers and children already have too much unrestricted access to the internet, early sexualization, and bullying, Snapchat provides an easier way for that to increase, without the risk of being monitored by parents or other adults.

An article on NPR, "Teens Dig Privacy," says that despite parental paranoia (I'm not a parent and I'm paranoid!) that Snapchat is primarily about sexting, it's not.  I'm sorry, but I don't buy it.   And they can't prove it.  

I don't see libraries adopting it large-scale at all, being extremely cautious about a lack of transparency. Also, since finding friends is connected to a mobile number, a library would have to have a separate number for that purpose (a Google Voice Number?) and find a way for patrons to know that number.

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