I take a lot of pictures. No, really. A lot of pictures. I always have from the time I had my first cell phone. It came equipped with a VGA camera if I remember correctly, and I thought it was the best thing ever. I always had it out and was always snapping pictures of my dogs, my ex-girlfriend doing one of her nonsensical, old lady impressions and anything else I saw worth remembering (or blackmail worthy).
Back then I didn't have a “smart” phone. It was actually rather dumb and strictly used for calling and texting. It came with a 16MB (that's right, megabytes not gigabytes) microSD card that could only hold a handful of pictures before I had to plug the card into my computer and offload all of the pictures to free up space for more. Old school, eh? From there I would upload them to Myspace and Facebook. At the time, I thought I was hot stuff. None of my other friends had phones with cameras. And even if they did, they either weren't savvy enough or didn't care enough to put a microSD card in their phone or upload pictures to a social network.
Having a smartphone has made me extremely lazy, though. If I had to go through a process half as taxing as before, I simply wouldn't upload pictures. You will never catch me booting up my computer unless I have to. And pulling pictures off of my phone to share with Twitter? That's just crazy and requires far too much effort.
Luckily, times have changed quite a bit. The capabilities of cell phones are only getting better with time, and it's taking my addiction to taking and sharing pictures to new levels. Not only are the actual shooters themselves getting better, though, so are the ways in which we can share what we do, where we go and what we see. Social networks like Twitter have spawned third-party photo upload services which allow users to quickly and easily share their pictures with their followers with virtually no setup.
Services like TwitPic, Lockerz (seriously, I will unfollow you if you use this), yfrog and many more will automatically set your account up for you through your existing Twitter account the first time you "tweet" a picture. Simply launch the Twitter app, choose the picture, send and you are done. But Twitter obviously isn't the only place to share your photos. Networks like Facebook, Google+ and Myspace allow you to create different albums and tag friends – much more photo-friendly, especially if you want to grow the albums and revisit them later. Sending photos to any of these sites is just as easily done as sending to Twitter.
Most of the current services were around and available prior to the huge smartphone boom. More recently, however, smartphone-specific photo sharing services like Instagram, picplz and a handful of others have spawned. These services allow the user to snap pictures and customize them by way of retro filters before sharing with their circle of friends. They are far more interactive than something like Facebook and Twitter, but also require much more attention.
Not everyone wants their pictures out on the Internet publicly available for all to see. But what if you have family across the States? Or overseas? Tools like Dropbox and Box.net allow you to share private folders with other users, in which you can store pictures, videos and more. Personally, I have all of my pictures automatically uploaded to a private cloud account, just to work as a backup. But if I need to share a particular picture, I can simply move or copy it to the folder I need it in to share it with friends, family members and even different clients.
All of these methods are primarily the same: take a picture, share it with friends and reminisce. But not everything is just about sharing for the fun of it. The smartphone can also be used as a tool. This is where Meporter, a location-based news reporting service, comes in. Snap a picture of a burning building or a traffic accident (after you call 911, of course) and post to Meporter to inform other locals so they can avoid the area for a while.
Over the past few months, my picture sharing habits have started to change. I tend to send to different services intermittently. Sometimes I'll share to Google+, other times I will send to Tumblr or Facebook. But if I'm ever going to share a picture, it always goes to Twitter first. And like I mentioned before, every mobile picture I ever take is automatically synchronized with a cloud account for further, private sharing.
So tell me, readers. How do you guys share pictures from your phone? Do you use one service over others? Or do you send to all? Do you use a cloud account to backup your pictures, too?