Pressgram: An Instagram-like Experience for WordPress

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Earlier this year, back in March 2013, I learned about a new Kickstarter project called Pressgram. It’s since been funded and, fast forward to this month, is now available to download for free in the App Store! It’s been an amazing journey, to watch Pressgram gain traction and grow and to see so many people be so passionate about it.

I used to have Instagram and liked it, but quit as soon as Facebook bought it. While I still have a Facebook page for my food blog, I wasn’t comfortable publishing photos with a service owned by it and with the potential of having my photos used without my permission or even getting credit. But while I said good-bye, John Saddington, the creator of Pressgram, decided to do something about it.

Pressgram started as a germ of an idea. Like me, John had deleted his Instagram, too, but sometimes missed the ease of sharing photos that Instagram offers. What if there was an app like Instagram that allowed you to put filters on your photos and share them with the world, while also giving you complete creative control and retaining ownership?

Pressgram offers the ability to take photos and post them to your WordPress-powered blog, whether you blog is on WordPress.com or the self-hosted WordPress.org. In this manner, your photos are centralized and have a permanent home. Not only that, Pressgram increases your blog traffic as your visitors click over to your blog to see the photos, instead of driving traffic to third-party sites like Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter.

That being said, you also have the choice of what photos you want to post on your blog and even if you want to post them at all. And if you don’t have a blog, you can still use Pressgram as a photo publishing app or social network, which is also built in.

Best of all, and the aspect that makes Pressgram unique, is that you have complete creative control of your stuff. In today’s world this increasingly means having total control of your content and how you manage it, without needing to consent to big, corporate companies and constantly changing (and confusing, let’s admit it) Terms of Services.

I’m passionate about Pressgram and the change it can inspire, for the better. Pressgram is for a better social network and it was for this reason that I joined the launch team and am now one of the members of the Community Leadership Team. As soon as I found out about the app, I followed Pressgram on Twitter (@Pressgram), happily seeing the updates as the app came to fruition and a community grew and continues to grow. I’m excited to see what Pressgram will become.

I’ve uploaded (or, upcycled) some of my old Instagram shots to Pressgram but most of the photos I’ve published are new. So far, as an example, I’ve been using it to blog “non-recipe dishes” on Z’s Cup of Tea, my food blog, (like this) or a photo from my latest post with a link as well as sharing what books I’m currently reading or will be. Because hyperlinks now work in the comments, this further helps drive traffic to my blogs.

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Additionally, I believe that Pressgram will help me better my mobile photography by making me pause as I think, “What do I want to say, or what am I trying to say?” There’s nothing wrong with snapping the quick, odd photo and I have done that – even screenshots of an app I like or find useful and want to share – however, Pressgram’s mission statement: “To publish pictures worth 1,000 words”, together with its philosophy, brings out my philosophical side and causes reflection. I’m inspired to make beautiful photos (rather than take, to borrow a term from photographer Penny De Los Santos) and, through the medium of photography (however it is accomplished), express myself. The kind of photos that, later, I will marvel at and think, “Wow, I did that.”  And be proud. As if to add testament to that, last weekend I took a photo of part of a window display, which I blogged here, and was so proud of what I’d done with it that I have it currently as my iPod’s lock screen.

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Will you download Pressgram, or have you already downloaded it? If you’re on Pressgram, comment below and share your experience. My handle there is “zscupoftea”.

Links:

Download Pressgram for FREE in the App Store here. Remember to give the app a rating!

Read the Pressgram blog here.

GIFs, Occupying a Space Between Photos and Videos

Near the end of 2012, the American Oxford Dictionary named “gif” (pronounced either “jif”, as in Jiffy’s Peanut Butter, or “gif” with a hard G) the word of the year. The gif, short for graphics interchange format, is twenty-five years old.

The Economy of the GIF, a panel at this year’s SXWX, discusses the importance of the gif and its current status in Internet culture. I wasn’t there, but I was able to keep abreast of it on Twitter (#gifecon) and it was there, in fact, that I found out about it in the first place.

Described as occupying a space between photos and videos, the gif has been deemed appropriate for increasingly shorter attention spans and that it takes longer to process a video. Most interestingly, it has been mobile technology that has revived the gif. Tumblr is the leader of the pack for usage of gifs and it’s been suggested that it’s one of the top reasons why more and more teens are going to Tumblr and leaving Facebook, as Facebook does not currently support gifs. Gifs are used as a communication tool, such as in texting or email, and are possibly more dynamic than emoticons, such as with “reaction gifs”: gifs used to respond to messages, with or without words.

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