The big question in the SXSW Interactive panel “Promiscuity or Private Groups: Mobile Photo Sharing” was where is it all going?
The panel was moderated by Mayank Mehta, co-founder and director of products for Cooliris, and featured Louis Gray of my6sense and Danny Trinh of the photo sharing site Path.
Now that most mobile phones have better cameras, couple with more powerful 3G cellular networks, have made for better and easier mobile photo sharing. Mobile apps like Instagram have seen a rapid increase of users in a short amount of time, but Mehta pointed out that email remains the top photo sharing method.
Will apps take it over?
Gray said a lot of people have talked about email going away for a long time but it hasn’t happened.
The key for apps to capitalize in order to overtake sharing through email is emphasizing relationships, according to Trinh. Tringh’s application, Path, allows you to share photos with people you know versus broadcasting to the public.
“Mobile photo sharing will make relationships stronger,” Trinh said.
Part of the success for mobile photo sharing are the filters and exclusivity. Instagram, which according to Mehta is pushing 1 million users. It makes people feel like they are better photographers than they are. You take a photo, modify and upload.
“The filter makes your photo look pretty good and makes you feel like a better photographer,” Trinh said.
However, Trinh said he understands why pro photographers may not find the photos as appealing in terms of their artistic value and quality.
“It’s really a means to an end with the filters and tilt shift — to get the someone interested in using the app.”
Furthermore, Gray said the success of photo sharing apps is also dependent on whether a person receives feedback they want (and expect), in other words, social validation.
“You post crazy photos and get tons of validation while others don’t and they drop off,” he said.
Nonetheless, Trinh said it depends on what’s more important to you: public social validation or private social validation.
“I feel more engaged sharing with people I know.”