Photos and the Great Comment Conundrum

How do you set yourself up to find your memories?

By Kurt Rump

Read this if you’ve ever been at an event or on a vacation at which pictures have been taken, and especially if YOU have ever been the picture-taker at an event or on a vacation.

Serious question: How have those photos been shared?

Casually? … Thoughtfully? … Willy-Nilly? … All of the above?

Scroll through Facebook and you can see it – sometimes daily uploads of pictures from a friend’s vacation with an overall description of what happened that day. Maybe they’ve tagged other participants and maybe not. Or they were tagged with the Instagram ID and not the @Facebook user. Or the album says “feel free to tag yourself” and no one has been identified in any of the pictures.

Scroll through Instagram and find the same basic situation – perhaps a daily carousel of 10 or fewer pics from the vacation, or a carousel of birthday party pics… you get the idea. Same thing – people are tagged, or not.

In either platform, maybe there are details like where this took place, when, and who was there. Maybe there aren’t.

And then there are the comments.

If you’re posting your vacation or event pics to Facebook for the people who don’t have Instagram, and posting to Instagram for the people who don’t use Facebook, you’re collecting comments in two completely different places (even though they’re owned by the same company).

And the comments are from ANYONE, no matter how involved they are in the subject at hand.

“Beautiful pic. That looks amazing. Can’t wait to see more.”

 “My great aunt went there once and almost fell over the edge right by where that picture is.”

“We had such a great time. That beach we happened to find on the last day was practically perfect. So glad we got to experience it together! So much fun!”

As you can see from the examples above – and no doubt from your own photo posts, only a few of the comments are actually useful and related to the event that took place.

But that one comment, about the perfect beach, it’s clearly from another person who was there. What a great conversation starter, don’t you think? But which platform is it in, Facebook or Instagram? And are the other participants in the same platform? Will they even see this comment?

And that’s all TODAY. What about in a year? Or 10?

I was talking with a friend about a memorable trip he and others had taken to Germany. The tour had occurred a year prior, but he had recently revisited his photos because he was preparing a slide show for another group. With no prodding from me, he conveyed that it was actually more enjoyable looking at those photos a year later than it was in the first days after he returned.

So, what happens a year from now when you want to relive that wonderful time YOU had? Will you depend on Facebook Memories to find the pictures for you? Did you create an album you can find in your Photos tab? Will you be scrolling through a year’s worth of Instagram posts to find the pics you want?

And if you want to remember the name of that beach, or the town where it was located, where will you find that information? In the comments? Of which picture? On which platform? And who said it, anyway?

Does the other person have a picture of that stopover they loved so much that they’d like to add to your album or carousel? Can they?

We post to social networks because it’s easy. There’s an app on our phone and off we go. We share our trips and parties and events (and desserts?) with the world because we’ve been conditioned to do so, and – let me say it again – the platforms make it easy.

What isn’t easy is collecting relevant comments, sharing stories together, reminiscing with other participants, and FINDING ANYTHING even a month after we post it.

Sorry about the all caps there. I got a little frustrated recently when a distant relative learned that I was travelling to the same place he had been, and he wanted to share some pics with me – but (you guessed it), he could not easily tell me how to find them. And I didn’t have time to scroll through his entire Facebook history to try (which is OK because it probably would have been in vain anyway).

And one more thing that bugs me

How many cameras were clicking at that birthday party? On the family camping trip? At the beach on that perfect July 4th weekend? That wedding reception? Just yours?

Likely not.

So, you’ve got multiple people taking pictures from different angles, at different times, and… guess what? They’re uploading to their own Facebook account or Instagram account (or both), and now you have different versions of the same story and the opportunity to exponentially increase comments – and oh my goodness, it’s just a big rollercoaster of an adventure as you try to keep up with where everything that is happening right now is being stored.


And in one year – or ten years – how will you ever find and collate all of these memories and stories and comments together? Because whether you know it or not right now, you will want to.

How do you fix this?

First off, keep an eye on the future. You and your kids might be on the trip of a lifetime today, and one day, when they’re a bit older, they might like to revisit the pics and relive the experience – even if you’re not in the room with them.

How can you set them up so that can happen?

How can you create a space where you and your companions can each upload your own photos of the same memorable event or trip and make everyone part of the WHOLE story – the collective experience? And how do you make that sustainable? It’s more than a shared drive in a cloud filled with image files. You want a destination where comments can be easily collected and stored with the photos, conversations can occur, and memories will unfold – creating an archive that will be meaningful long into the future.

Keep your requirements simple. Since most, if not all, of the pictures you’re taking today are digital, you want to find an online digital platform where you can post your photos, share them, and record your memories.

Here’s the wishlist we used when we created TightKnit:

  • Safe, private, and secure – no spammers, no random strangers, no ads
  • Allow people to invite other people into groups, and allow groups to participate in albums – “online scrapbooks” – that can be organized in just about any way that makes sense – by year, by event, by person, by family, etc. – and let people have as many invited groups and “online scrapbooks” as they want or need
  • Let every person with relevant pictures upload their photos into the “online scrapbooks” that have been shared with them
  • Create a conversation space where comments, memories, and stories about any given picture can be typed or spoken and forever attached to that photo
  • Make it sustainable – always available to the current participants and a treasure for future generations to discover and explore

This list could work for you, too, as you search for a way to share and encourage capturing the memories of today into a legacy for tomorrow.



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