In mid-2011, Twitter announced its photo sharing feature. It was major news because it put Twitter at loggerheads with the existing third-party Twitter photo sharing services like TwitPic , yfrog, and Instagram. But we users weren’t really bothered about the behind the scenes bad blood for it gave us a more convenient way of sharing photos from within Twitter itself.
The opening up probably boosted the to and fro movement of snap-click photos, after all the old cliché holds good – a picture does say a thousand words. Especially when you find Twitter’s own 140 to be limiting.
A photo does say more; but does it say them effectively? Sharing photos comes with a few unsaid rules. It’s true for Twitter…it’s true for sharing any photo across the web. Let’s talk about them.
Choose your photos wisely
Everyone loves photos. Just like tweets, photos that you share on Twitter should also be interesting. Don’t share blindly…be picky. You wouldn’t want to post snaps of your office party en masse when it wouldn’t be of any interest to your followers. The best you can do is to share photos around a theme and support it with the text message. Like any other social platform, Twitter too comes with its own etiquette.
Get the photos right
Common sense. What would anyone do with photo that resembles a blob? If your followers can’t make out what your photo is all about, then either expect some “WTF” comments or being unfollowed by friends who have better things to do.
Twitter accepts photos that are 3 MB or smaller. But for faster uploads, you can crop and resize the image to a more optimum size. Online photo editors can do that in a jiffy. Twitter allows .gif, .jpeg, and .png files but not bmp, .tiff, and animated .gif images.
Twitter also gives you a user gallery which stores your 100 most recent shared images. The user gallery is a part of the Twitter profile, so it pays to keep it neat and compact.
Too much or too little
Great photos are one of the easiest ways to not only grab eyeballs but also gather Twitter followers. But go overboard with it, and you will be on a one-way ride to the spammers’ gallery of fame. Get the balance right between too much and too little. The right photo shared at the right time with Twitter has a better chance of scoring an impact.
Nix the watermark
This is a personal opinion, but I think that watermarking an image just about ruins it. Yes, it protects your photographic masterpiece but if you mean to protect your photo then upload it elsewhere. Twitter is the wrong medium for copyright-clad photos. But when it comes to promoting brands or a product, watermarking could be considered a must. In the meantime, Twitter really hasn’t found a way for users to protect their photo shares.
It helps to know where a Twitter photo is coming from
Tweets are usually time sensitive and location sensitive. Apps like Foursquare and Gowalla are built around geo-location and a lot of check-ins also piggybacks on Twitter. So tagging your Tweets + photos with geo-location data helps put it in a place. Think of Twitter powered breaking news, and the effectiveness of location tags becomes clear. It also makes the Twitter photos searchable by location. Adding location data leads to a better Twitter experience for everyone…not just the tweeter.
Hashtags to the fore
Adding hashtags to your uploads helps in their search and discovery. A Twitter based service like Hashalbum makes it easy to search for images in real time by letting you discover new photos based on their #hashtag. Hashalbum is a photo discovery tool that scans Twitter for images and sorts them into shareable albums by their #hashtags. This helps you to find photos in a specific topic of interest.
Eye-catching image effects
Thanks to the universe of image effects web apps (and mobile apps), even a photo taken with a standard cell phone camera can be enhanced and made interesting. Give your dull photos a makeover using apps like Instagram, Hispstamatic, BeFunky etc,
Ultimately, Twitter is about the community. So, don’t be shy and share socially with the network of your followers and friends. Photos are tweets with a more graphic face, so you have to respond to them just like regular tweets to keep the network fires burning. Share with us your best Twitter photo tip. What more can you do to spread your photographic masterpieces?
Image Credit: Flickr