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Skitch, the photo Social Network?

When it comes to Social Networking and more specifically micro-blogging, it’s like every seat in the house has been taken. What with Pownce, Jaiku and Twitter buying up all of the private boxes, while everyone else is left to scrounge around in cheap seats. But if a picture says a thousand words, maybe the best view doesn’t get taken until the fat lady sings?

OK, enough with the nonsensical, cryptic theatrical metaphors and let’s talk specifics.

What am I talking about? Well, I’m still talking micro-blogging, but I’m thinking more along the lines of photos rather than just words.

I read a post by Brian Heys regarding a new service called Yappd, which he describes as ‘Twitter with images’, which sort of sets the scene for Yappd.

The idea is that you post to Yappd via your mobile phone with a picture message, letting your friends know wherever you are in the world, whenever. But right now, there aren’t a lot of people using Yappd, which doesn’t help matters, either.

However, that might be more of a reflection of whether they can afford to send picture messages. And, the fact that Yappd is pretty new doesn’t help matters, either.

As of about .. ooh, 10 minutes ago, I saw something pretty impressive while I was on my Technorati profile page.

Of all the things to impress me, it was a banner advert. The reason I was so impressed is because the damn thing made me want to click on stuff, which is amazingly rare.

When I began to roll over items on the banner advert, a smaller window slid out with more information. Not totally unique, but the whole thing just worked so well. I was reminded of the Tailgate and booBox banner advertising and in-page ecommerce services I wrote about recently.

So impressed was I with this banner advert, I wanted to take a picture of the aforementioned and save it for posterity (an image of the banner to be found here), which I was able to do via Skitch, the image capture and editing application for the Mac.

Within about two minutes, I’d captured the image, edited it, uploaded it onto my very own mySkitch page and wrote a few lines explaining what I thought. Then I remembered a previous picture post where someone replied to my comments (account required to see comments), and for a brief moment, I had a dialogue.

A picture of micro-blogging emerges

We’ve all seen the comments on Flickr photos, so the idea isn’t entirely new. But what if you’ve got a image editing client like Skitch? Then you can grab stuff from the web, which is totally different to using your photos. And with Skitch, you can open images from your Mac. Also you can save you images to your Flickr account.

Now I’m sure the guys at Skitch have given some thought to mySkitch and its potential, but in these strange days of Social Networks, they could be sitting on something of a winner and not even know it.

With hardly any real technical effort, mySkitch could become a really smart venue for picture ‘blogging, allowing you & I to share images that’s much quicker than manually uploading them.

And then there’s Yappd. Taking their smarts, what if you could post to your mySkitch page from your mobile phone?

Just picture the scene: you’re out & about, you see something cool / weird / scary / sexy / yummy / stupid and take a picture, add a few lines of text and post to your mySkitch page.

At the same time as your micro-blog article hits mySkitch, a text message is broadcast to some of your contacts, announcing your post. They see your picture message and then maybe reply with a comment or two.

Before you know it, you’ve got a dialogue going between people, most of whom are probably not even in the same country.

A mobile picture-based micro-blogging gig right from the comfort of your pocket.

Just make sure your mobile phone isn’t in your back pocket, you’re about to take the best seat in the house.

And you might want to be sitting comfortably because the fat lady is about to sing.

Worth a picture message, maybe…

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By Wayne Smallman

Wayne is the man behind the Blah, Blah! Technology website, and the creator of the Under Cloud, a digital research assistant for journalists and academics.

3 replies on “Skitch, the photo Social Network?”

Another excellent post, Wayne.

I am not currently part of the Skitch network, but it is another point of interest that I will pursue once I become part of the Mac clique in October.

Regarding this whole mobile connection phenomenon, I have to say it makes me a bit nervous. Being a woman (especially in New York, where practically every corner is a landmark), I wonder how safe it would be to keep others – “friends” and strangers alike – updated on my exact whereabouts by image. There’s not just the issue of timing when to rob me, but also the possibility of being run into “accidentally” or otherwise…

These concerns are not different than the Facebook safety debate that swelled last week, so no need to reinvent the wheel.

Done correctly, however, I think this could be a great tool for a variety of people: how many musicians would benefit from sharing snapshots of their gigs, for example?

Thanks for the link, Wayne.

You paint a pretty compelling scene here, and one that I think isn’t too far away.

How long will it be before Twitter add picture messaging functionality to their service? Not long.

How long will it be before someone puts together a Skitch/Twitter mashup? Again, not long – providing Skitch gets an API together.

Interesting times on the horizon. 🙂

Kate, I can’t fault either of your two points.

In the first instance, the privacy issues are significant. And as you point out, for a woman, this kind of service could pose some serious problems.

Plenty has been said about Facebook and the privacy implications there. But the answer is simple: just don’t put too much about yourself on Facebook if you feel it’s too sensitive.

As for the musicians connection, they’re exactly the kind of people that would benefit the most. Probably more so the smaller bands than the larger ones.

There could even be a revenue model for the text messages that are sent in reply to the initial picture message, so they get a cut.

Hi Brian, no need to thank me for the link. I link out to whatever I feel is relevant.

It’s interesting that you mention a Mashup. However, it’s more likely that it would be Yappd and Twitter, as these two are are out & out web services, both of which being platform agnostic.

Glad you liked…

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