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Evolution of Photosharing: Enhancing Social Media and Going Beyond


Who prints photographs any more, aside from those of weddings and babies. And usually those occasions are photographed by a professional. But what I'm talking about is the everyday, point-and-shoot photos of friends, nature, random happenings. Do you print them? Most likely, you upload them to a website and share them with your friends virtually.

Long gone are the days of friends and family huddled over a photo album or box full of printouts. Social media sites like Facebook helped drive this switch but several other sites have cropped up that enhance photosharing abilities. Some sites are photo only, so you don't have to mess with the whole social media component just to get Grandpa and Grandma pictures of Junior. Other sites, build upon social media, making photosharing easier or  new form of communication.

Here are some sites that can help broaden your social media photosharing experience or avoid it all together seeing only the photos with none of the other trappings that go along with social sites:

Flickr: Flickr is a free photosharing site with some limitations on uploads, but it also has a pay-for professional account option that allows for unlimited uploads. The Yahoo-owned company also allows for video sharing. Flickr is like a social community in itself with the ability to join groups and share on more mainstream sites like Facebook and Twitter.

SmugMug: SmugMug is geared more toward the professional to amateur, yet serious, photographer as opposed to the causal photo sharer. SmugMug allows users to buy and sell their digital images and it has capability to share on popular social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, although that's not its main drive. SmugMug does have a 14-day free trial membership, but thereafter has a monthly fee for users.

Photobucket: Photobucket is a free account for hosting thousands of photos and video and, like the above two sites, sharing them via email or on other social media sites. Photobucket has a photo editor that allows you to personalize photos and make slideshows. The site also hosts photo competitions among its users.

Pixable: Pixable is a relatively new, free start-up that allows users to pull photos from their friend's Facebook and Twitter accounts for easy viewing without having to sift through other content on these popular social media sites. For Twitter specifically, where many photos are hidden behind links, Pixable brings them easily into full view. Pixable also takes care of the problem of photos getting buried in the news feed where they can then be missed. With Pixable saying Facebook users alone upload about 250 million pictures each day, it hopes to sort through the noise so you don't miss a shot.

Here's how Pixable works:

Piictu: Piictu is new-ish iPhone app that takes smartphone photosharing to the next level by incorporating a sense of engagement. Instead of just texting a photo to a friend or uploading it to a website, it starts with a topic to which users respond with subsequent photos, creating a stream of discussion via images. It's as one of the founders, Jonathan Slimak, says "more about a conversation medium than a keeper of memory."

The best way to understand how Piictu works is by seeing it in action. Take a look at this representation of how Piictu can be used:

Although all these options can seem overwhelming, there is now something for everyone to catalogue their digital photos from the photo-obsessed new parent to the professional photographer to the social media junkie. As these photosharing sites continue to evolve blending photography and and communication will continue as well.

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