Blog Post

Photo Sharing Websites & Political Events?

Hi all!


Does anyone have any thoughts on the role of photo sharing websites (including Picasa) during political events (such as Egypt, Quebec Student Strike, etc)?

I have thought about this for Twitter & even Instagram, as they are easily accessed on the mobile & built for real-time updating, sharing & hashtagging. Yet, Picasa offers long term organizing and managment and retireval of images, but is it used as much?


Would love some thoughts and/or links.








This is an interesting question. I would agree that Twitter and Instagram are probably used/would be used more frequently during political events. As these apps are most easily accessible on smartphones and are the most popular, these seem more likely to be used than Picasa. I think the motivation for taking pictures of political events would center more around the quick uploading and sharing of the photos to a wide audience, rather than the long-term archiving of these pictures. 




Yes, Twitter & Instagram are both easily accessible from the mobile phone & work on a quick hashtag system. Having participated in political action myself, I go to Twitter first & twitpic if I need to & with a bit more time I will upload to Instagram. I do not have fb, or use Picasa... and Flickr is for more specific edited photos.


You raise a good point about accessibility and speed. We have learnt a language and behaviour that has become habitual (those of twitter, instagram users). Specificially, I think about the way both Instagram & Twitter are very much focused on a singular point of entry and a singular object.


On Twitter, you write something in 140 characters and can have links to images, web, etc, but it is within the 140 characters and it is textual only.


On Instagram, you upload 1 photo at a time and also view 1 photo at a time in your feed, thereby again, a singular object being the point of entry.


You can use hashtags in both to quickly see any connected images or tweets. With Facebook, there are many layers and many objects of entry and exit. I would say with Picasa's UI it is also not as pared down as Twitter/Instagram, although much more focused that Facebook.

Is Picasa's underwhelming use it's UI? Because most people use Google, and Gmail (which they have tried to 'seamlessly' integrate wih Picasa) so why wouldn't they want to have their information stored together? Or is it that they want to separate some of these from their main account?

I cannot imagine someone "going to" Picasa in the same way as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram or even Flickr, or their RSS feed. Perhaps they have an RSS feed for a specific tag? That seems unlikely as the type of images on Picasa range from Getty to regular citizen snapshots (of say, an uprising).

There doesnt seem to be any rules about what type of content can be put up, and if there are, copyright does not seem to be an issue from my perusal of images... (something v strict on instagram and esp flickr)


Would love some more thoughts....


What about Flickr? It has great features for activists/journalists to share photos via Groups or just using common tags.

It's not the best onmobile, but I think it's catching up there. It used to have a great mobile web site, but the apps leave a lot to be desired. 


Thanks Ruby!


Definitely Flickr has had a presence in political actions, specifically as magazines and journals look for original photos that are not sanctioned by getty or AP & often free or cheap as citizen media makers are not (always) professionals with this as their careers. I have seen this happen on several photos through my research.


You are right though. There is not seamless way to upload, organize and view photos on Flickr on our mobiles... Perhaps they didnt think that was necessary as the type of photos FLickr wants, they want people to view it large size, etc, etc. But many are getting used to screen granularity...


Specifically, I am looking into Picasa though, and it seems like a barren land.