slidestaxx: Multi Social Media Slideshows

Including media into websites is a common occurrence. These can be anything from pictures, to videos, products, or even other websites. These are the tools people can use to make their own site more interesting. They use them to tell a story, to illustrate a principle, and to engage their users.

Historically images have been embedded one by one, pieced sporadically throughout the page. If they decide to get fancy they can upload them to a slideshow viewer. Videos of course are displayed separately from the pictures, taking up precious web site real estate. Products may be posted within an article along with links to other websites. And that is how media and external content is most typically displayed in websites.

slidestaxx Home

It’s time for innovation and creative minds to expand upon the paradigms of old. Somewhere along the way we need to ask ourselves the question, “Do we really need to place every link, picture, video, and product reference in a separate location?” As it turns out, as soon as the questions escaped our lips the answer came back to us. Deep in the night beyond the clouds in a stormy sky we heard a booming voice declaring loudly and clearly, “No, you can just use slidestaxx to combine them all.” This astounding sacrament of guidance and direction from the heavens points us to a new way of doing things. Never mind the fact that our revelation may be slightly imagined if not entirely contrived. slidestaxx provides a free tool to improve the way you embed and share media on the web.

The first thing we need to learn about slidestaxx how to spell it. They take no offense at the lower case ‘s’ in their name. In fact a great marketing executive from the abyss made clear that under no uncertain terms did they want it capitalized. We suspect the celestial figure behind the booming voice is related to the great branding entity of the deep. In all seriousness, nobody really knows how to brand or design websites anyway so the otherworldly analogies are rather appropriate. Now that we’ve been careful not to capitalize the ‘s’ we next must be sure to only include two X’s at the end. We have no knowledge of what may happen were a third X to be included but we suspect it may incur a visit from the only chaste Roman deity.

Now that we’ve achieved syntactic epiphany we can begin to use the service. slidestaxx, is a slideshow viewer of sorts. Contrary to typical slideshow viewers though slidestaxx allows you to include a variety of media in your show. You can have pictures, videos, links to other sites, and links to products. Currently the pictures are pulled from Flickr, ImageShack, Photobucket, and Picasa. All you need to do is enter the URL. Videos are from YouTube or Vimeo. Products are from Amazon, and I’ll let you guess where the websites come from. I’ll give you a hint- it very closely resembles the internet.

Sample Slidestaxx Shows

Once you’ve created your slidestax (we’re not sure on the singular form but we’re going to go with one ‘X’), you can share it on the web. It can be embedded anywhere or linked to its page on slidestaxx. All slidestaxx are given a profile page which has a permanent link. This can be shared on social networking sites such as Facebook or Twitter. The profile page allows for comments and for other users to like your slidestaxx.

Sharing media on the web is nothing new. slidestaxx provides us a new, more condensed, and easy to method to display it. No longer do you need to include multiple instances of pictures, video, and everything else in your site. You can create a slidestaxx show and embed and share it anywhere you like. slidestaxx is a clever and new way to share and display media content on the web, and appeases all celestial figures, whether real or imagined.


Unbound: A Reader’s Dream

A couple weeks ago the final cinematic installment of the world famous Harry Potter series was released. This was the culmination of an impressive and elaborate effort by the J. K. Rowling. I will personally confess to staying up until midnight to purchase the latest books (even though I had already found bootlegged copies on the internet). I was caught up in the mystique and aura of the Hogwarts glow, eager to discover what would come next. She did not disappoint. Unless you consider *SPOILER ALERT* killing half the characters in the end, disappointing. ‘Twas a bit dark for my tastes but brilliant none the less. I wouldn’t hesitate to purchase another book by J. K. Rowling.

When it comes to reading books from our favorite authors readers are completely at the mercy of the authors and publishers. In a slightly different realm the fabled installment of the Duke Nukem Forever was over a decade in the making. Its tardy arrival was an ongoing joke among gaming enthusiasts. I can only imagine if that happened for the last book in the Harry Potter series. It was bad enough waiting until the announced release date.

What if there was a way to be more intimately involved in the book writing process? Where you could be the first to know when your favorite author is considering writing a new book. Or you could see drafts of chapters, exclusive interviews, and join discussions with the author and other avid fans. As it turns out these things have always happened. They’ve been the exclusive privilege of trusted friends and professional correspondents. Until now. Unbound is a new site that opens up the opportunity for people to support their favorite authors in upcoming books and become actively involved.

The way Unbound works is you first select an author and book that’s of interest to you. The authors are hand picked and most typically limited to those who are already published. All are welcome to apply though. In this case we’ll select Amy Jenkins, a romance novelist who’s planning the book, “The Art of Losing.” The book page consists of an intro video, description, excerpt, and bio of the author. It also has a timeline for gaining supporters, goals for how many supporters to attain, and progress indicators. If you’d like to join just click on the contribution level you’d like to offer to secure your position in the support club for that book.

The contributions are financial donations that people can make. Each level gives an increasing number of rewards. The most basic package permits you to be the first to receive the e-book. The most advanced includes two invitations to the book launch party, lunch with the author and Unbound founders, goodie bags as selected by the author, 2 signed personally dedicated editions of the 1st edition of the book, and 2 e-book editions. Contribution amounts range from £10 to £250. Unbound is based in the UK and all lunches and launch parties occur there.

The other sections of the book page include News, the Shed, Supporters, and Promoters. News includes general news for everyone to follow. The Shed contains the good stuff with draft chapters, interviews, and other notes from the author. Supporters is the equivalent to the long lines in book stores of fans waiting for the next edition to come out. You join this group when you contribute. The Promoters section encourages people to rally for more supporters. If people refer supporters they get a £1 credit and are recognized on the Promoters page.

Unbound is an intriguing site for those who find themselves enraptured in the upcoming works of their favorite authors. Sometimes it’s just not enough to wait for the book to arrive in the mail or pick it up at the store. They want to watch the action unfold. They’d like to know the author as a real person, not a figure cloaked behind the pages of their imagination. They want to read unabridged versions of Les Misérables. Unbound opens up that opportunity in unprecedented fashion, to everyone.


JobMuncher: Hiring Made Easy

One part of being a growing business is that they need to hire people. A company’s ability to hire qualified and competent candidates is critical to its continued and ongoing success. If they hire less than adequate employees then things can turn sour quickly. I’m sure we’ve all worked for a company where some not so diligent cohorts leaked onto the payroll. For whatever reason once someone finds their way into a company they tend to stay there. This is partially the case because the process of hiring people is cumbersome. Managers don’t like to do it any more than they have to.

Hiring someone typically consists of posting jobs on multiple job boards, reading through hundreds of resumes, and maintaining a system to help keep the entire process organized. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has two sub folders in their inbox- one for Yes and one for No. This makes for simple organization but it sure doesn’t scale well. There ought to be a way to manage one’s hiring process from job listing all the way to onboarding. As it turns out there is, with JobMuncher.

JobMuncher is a tool for businesses that streamlines the hiring process. It starts with posting a job on their account, which can then be promoted on other job boards and their website. It makes it so you only need to list the job once and then all candidates can view that same listing. They offer multiple packages. The more advanced ones give you the ability to embed the job listing on your own site or on sites such as Craigslist or Monster. When a candidate finds a job listing they’re interested they can apply directly through the JobMuncher interface.

Both employers and candidates are given a dashboard interface relevant to their activities. For candidates this includes applying, monitoring status, responding to messages, scheduling interviews, and similar. For employers they conduct the other end of those tasks as well as post jobs, rate candidates, and make notes. All these features allow employers and candidates to track the application progress within the same interface. Employers also have the ability to post documents that are associated with that job.

JobMuncher Demo

JobMuncher unifies the many steps in hiring new candidates. Within a single interface jobs can be posted so hiring managers don’t need to post them all over the place. If that position is filled then they simply close the position from one location. They can carry on all the communications through JobMuncher’s interface including scheduling their interviews and tracking their notes about the candidate. It can be hoped that with JobMuncher employers won’t be as hesitant to extract the under qualified employees within their ranks to make room for those that more adept. Regardless, JobMuncher helps organize the hiring process saving people time and money. With it hiring managers can quickly post their jobs and begin finding the right candidate.


Shortmail: Getting Straight to the Point

I think all of us have endured the experience of opening their inbox to find it chalk full of email. Depending on who they’re from this can be exciting, or a whole lot of work. When you’re at the office it usually amounts to a series of correspondence that is mildly relevant to your job. These take hours to sift through and detract from our productivity. I used to have a manager who would habitually check his Blackberry because he just knew there was an email there. It was kind of like turret’s but with email. For that job he was typically correct as the email load was particularly weighty. Email can be a real time killer.

No one seems to have made a lot of headway in making it easier to check one’s email. For the most part it comes down to becoming an expert skimmer and staying consistent with it. There’s nothing like having hundreds of emails to look through after returning from vacation. It can almost ruin the trip depending on how full your inbox is. It’s time for a change.

Shortmail Home

That change comes to us as Shortmail. Their answer to the email problem is 500 characters. Similar to the Twitter 140 character limitation Shortmail is a fully functional messaging system that forces its users to keep their messages to just 500 characters. That way they’re short and to the point.

To sign up for Shortmail you need a Twitter account. This makes it so you don’t need to register for yet another username/password combination. It uses your Twitter screen name for your Shortmail email address, thus ensuring they’re both unique and have the same brand identity. Some users balked initially at using their precious Twitter accounts to register. They obviously haven’t read our detailed synopsis on why Twitter is no longer useful or relevant. In short, go ahead and use your Twitter account- nobody reads tweets anyway.

But people do read email and they always will. They just need them to be a little more concise and to the point. The character limitation provides the following benefits. It makes the sender think through what they’re writing prior to sending it. Their spam filters will stop many of the lengthy advertisements that otherwise would find their way to your inbox. Also, emails will take a more structured format. There are no attachments, HTML characters- nothing. Just solid communication. Further, it allows messages to be presented in a conversational format. Since messages are short they can eliminate headers, quoted text, and other entries that take up space in conventional emails. It’s easier to sift through many emails this way on top of being able to read each one individually.

Shortmail Message

Oftentimes if I find myself writing a long email I realize it’s time to pick up the phone and give them a call. Any time you have more than a few paragraphs it’s a sign that email isn’t the best forum anyway. Shortmail makes that judgment call easy by placing an upper limit on how long each email can be. It’s a creative attempt at solving a problem that plagues email users around the world. And it just makes reading email easier.


StepStation: A Step-by-Step Guide to Everything

One of the old jokes in computer circles is when in doubt read the manual. The point being that most of the time people don’t read directions, they just start doing something and expect it to work out. As often as not they run into problems and get frustrated. It’s at this juncture that they may remember the adage that instruction manuals often have the answer they’re looking for. More typically they call a friend to help.

Not everything has a manual to read though. Sure you can find manuals for your cell phone, computer, or other gadgets. But who has a manual for how to throw a party, or fixing your car, or resolving legal questions? For these people might look online, ask a neighbor, or someone they know who’s an expert in it. Well now they don’t have to do any of that. They just need to go to StepStation. StepStation is your definitive guide of how-to steps for everything in life. In it you can find steps on everything from how to apply spray foam insulation to how to tie one’s shoes.

StepStation Home

StepStation is organized into categories. That way people can know where to find steps for things they’re interested in. There’s art & entertainment, design, health & fitness, parenting, pets, and relationships to name a few. By selecting a category you’ll find the steps for various activities listed with the most recent guides first. There’s also a universal search tool if you know exactly what you’re looking for. In my testing I went directly to searching on, “How to get rich quick!” Unfortunately it didn’t return anything, which is probably an accurate overview on that topic anyway.

Searching for guides is helpful but the real fun begins when you contribute your own. StepStation is entirely supported by users submitting their step-by-step guides for areas they’re knowledgeable in. To add one just click the post new link. Here you can assign a topic for the title, select the category, and then add as many steps as you need to describe the activity. Each step contains a description and can have a file associated with it as well. Typically people would upload images to further illustrate that step. Once the steps are described all that’s left to do is enter keywords so people will find it when they search for it. From there you submit it and are all done. Once posted each guide has its own comment section. That way people can add their suggestions about the guide and continue the conversation.

How to Read Labels

The other aspect to StepStation is the Unanswered section. Here people can view or post topics that as of yet do not have step-by-step guides. People can submit their guides to help others out or ask others for things they don’t know about just yet. The Unanswered section is a particularly unique feature of StepStation. The web is full of Q & A forums but being able to respond to real questions people may have with complete guides is unprecedented. Currently one topic that caught my eye was how to study. Oh that I might have learned how to do that earlier. Some of us are destined to learn certain things the hard way.

StepStation is a recently launched site that promises to be the definitive guide on how to do everything. It’s a creative way for people to share their knowledge and helpful for people who’d like some guidance. With it people can both learn new things and help others along the way.


Startedby: A Social Network for Ideas

Social networks are nothing new. We know MySpace used to be the big kahuna and has since fallen behind. And we know that Facebook is currently the big cheese in the social networking factory. These seem to be on 3-5 year cycles as they come in and out of fashion. Facebook seems to have reached its sentimental peak with people slowly beginning to feel ready for something new. It will be interesting to see what’s in store next.

While hoards of new competitors are lining up for their share of the social network pie there are many other interesting and compelling projects that could be built. In fact there’s an entire world of ideas to be pursued. These are the inspirations that rattle around people’s heads waiting to be brought to fruition. So what if someone created a social network that helped cultivate such ideas? Where instead of following people you followed their ideas, and they in turn yours? As it turns out there is, with Startedby. Startedby is a social network that doesn’t take aim at the conventional social networks. Instead it focuses on putting people’s ideas in the spotlight. It’s a think tank of sorts that’s designed to cultivate an environment of innovative synergy.

(Their intro video has the coolest music of any we’ve come across. We welcome this trend and encourage all sites to no longer go the elevator music route. Deviating from prim and proper business acumen is A-OK in our book. Start-ups need to get out of their box already, as shown below.)

Working with Startedby is easy. First you register, then you can submit ideas or comment on others. As opposed to conventional social networks where you follow and friend people, it’s the ideas that can be followed by those that are interested. This subtle change alters the entire dynamic of the social network paradigm. Sure you can exchange private messages with other members but the focus of Startedby is the ideas.

Each idea is given a profile page. The first one that caught my eye was a dessert shop that specialized in spiked desserts. (Shown below.) I’ve personally never been carded before buying brownies before but I’d certainly be willing to give it a try. Too bad any such store would likely be subject to liquor law regulations including licensing and underage sales. I can just imagine cops confiscating a bag of muffins from the bad kids in town. As noted on this particular idea page they still hadn’t settled on a name yet. I submitted a suggestion to get them going and followed the idea. That way I can stay updated on its progress. Ideas consist of a name, location, keyword tags, profile image, URL, and a description. Anyone can contribute to the discussion through the feedback form.

Startedby Loaded Pastry Idea

Startedby takes a new slant on building a social network. It’s intentionally designed to steer the focus at the ideas, not the creators of them. In so doing they give people a chance to gather feedback from the broader internet community and identify strengths and weaknesses of it. It’s a place for people to soundboard their ideas if not show off their recently launched initiatives. It can be used to start ideas, find cofounders, or get early feedback prior to launching a full endeavor. With it entrepreneurs can further involve themselves in the start-up community and participate in the discussion about the next big thing.

Startedby got tired of the usual start-up discussions. In a impassioned blaze of fury and misfortune they turned to the dark side. When they smoke cleared they had morphed into Endedby. We stand humbled and in awe at their demise. From such great heights could such a one as them fall? Yes. Why yes they could. And they did. We leave this here in solemn remembrance of the great website they once were.


Jostle: Untangling the Complexity of Corporations

We all know companies can be inefficient entities. Combining large groups of people from a variety of backgrounds doesn’t always work out as one would hope. It takes a concerted effort to get everyone to cohesively work together for the overall success of the business. Historically this task has been relegated to managers. These overseers of activities and operations have the near impossible job of motivating people to work, keeping them on task, and planning ropes course outings.

One of the main things that’s lost as companies grow is the ability to connect with people across the organization. Let’s say you have a simple database question that someone in a different department could answer off the top of their head. In today’s siloed corporate structure you’re just as likely to spend a lot of time figuring it out yourself than attempt to seek someone’s help across the company. As often as not it’s faster anyway and creates less ripples from various departments. This disconnectedness needs to change. That change comes to us from Jostle, which is a site that provides the tools to unite corporations and foster an environment of collaboration. It’s like an organizational structure on steroids.

Jostle- The Relationship View

At a basic level Jostle includes the typical hierarchical structure that we’re all familiar with. People can see who works for who, what their role is, and find some basic contact info. That’s just where things start though. People can network across various departments, form collaboration groups to work on joint projects, and even include external contractors or customers in groups. Once a group is formed it’s easy to email all members with a click of a button or search for individuals based upon their skill sets.

So let’s imagine an entirely hypothetical scenario: You work for a company that promoted its office girl to Executive Vice President. (Who would do that, right?) This office assistant proceeds to creates a series of rules and regulations that make it impossible for anyone to do their job successfully. In so doing the indolent sneak bolsters and emboldens their position as being the one person doing their job, meanwhile everybody else fails miserably. In their misery the unfortunate minions may find that they need to work with a department on the other side of the office. Typically they would be assigned a chore of negligible import except for its remembrance on their performance review. Normally you’re completely out of luck as separate groups tend to be inattentive to other groups’ needs. If you’re set up with Jostle you can form an internal team that bands together so the holdouts can better manage the workload. Historically such arrangements are made at the closest bar. With Jostle it can be set up for all to see as the stalwarts hope against hope that the tyranny finds its end. Again, any correlation to real life circumstances is merely coincidental.*

Jostle’s main calling in life is to break down the silos that naturally form in businesses. They do so by providing a visual organizational structure that can be searched and given additional structure by others. You can recognize accomplishments of individuals or groups and communicate with various individuals better. There are multiple packaged offerings from the free Chart Edition to the Max, Pro, and Plus options. They come with a 30 day free trial and complementary onboarding support.

Org charts have historically been ignored as their contents seem irrelevant and uninteresting. Jostle takes these org charts to help unite an entire organization so that everyone can understand in a meaningful way the components of the various groups. It’s easy for people to get lost in their own division and become separated from the greater goals of the company. With Jostle companies can maintain a stronger synergy and increase overall communication and productivity.

* We were unable to verify if Jostle can dislodge secretaries that wandered out of their office into management. But then, common sense oft escapes the notice upper management.


FreeFileConvert: All Purpose File Converter

Files are the lifeblood of the internet age. Between all the bits and bytes, the digital and analog signals, and the character codes and HTML entities, at the end of the day it all comes down to files. For example, Microsoft Word is a fabulous application, one which people use every single day. But for as wonderful as MS Word is the result of everything it does is stored in a file. This file is like a mini offspring, completely separated from its creator and free to carry its contents anywhere it may end up. The same is true for many other applications people use on a day to day basis. They produce files that store static information in a completely separate container.

But problems can arise with files. Let’s say someone stores information in one file type but then someone tries to open it on a computer that can’t interpret it. A classic example is videos formats. Quite often someone will save a video in one format and send it to someone who isn’t able to view it. This happens if their computer doesn’t have a video player that supports it. At this point all is lost and they usually give up in a fit of rage. Until now.

FreeFileConvert Home

As it turns out converting files isn’t all that hard. Sure if you’re the original owner you have the option to save it in any file type you like, but end users may need to find a different method. That method is FreeFileConvert– an online file converter which is in fact, free.

FreeFileConvert’s calling in life is simple. Upload a file, select the format you’d like to convert it to, and then download it. Once the file is converted it’s stored online for 12 hours during which time it can be downloaded. My immediate impression was that many similar services have a queue that you get to wait in. In my testing it converted the file right away so that I could download it and get back to what I was doing.

My next observation with FreeFileConvert is the vast amount of supported file types. They don’t just support pictures and various Microsoft Office file types. They include video, audio, compressed files, HTML, and many that I have never seen in my life. Presumably they fit under those broad categories for the most part. What’s more though is you can also include a link to online video services. So if you’d like to download a YouTube or Vimeo video just submit the link. Similar to their supported files they offer a dizzying array of sites you can download video from. In all cases the user is responsible to observe appropriate copyright regulations.

Video downloads from URLs is actually an interesting feature. By nature of being able to view the video online the video must be accessible on the web somewhere. But web developers often take steps to hide the source of video files so people can’t readily download them. It’s kind of like an online espionage game. My understanding is it’s perfectly legal to download them since technically you download them anyway to your browser cache. Incidentally, recovering videos from your  cache is a much easier way to find a video’s source file, but it’s not one FreeFileConvert has the option to use. (Sites can’t pull content from other site’s cache, to my knowledge.) Instead they’ve done it the hard way by figuring out where the source files are hidden online for all the major video sites. (I can neither confirm nor deny what I was up to in figuring all this out recently.)

FreeFileConvert is the freest file converter we’ve found to date. You’re free to upload any of the supported files, and free to select any of the file types to convert it to. And then you’re free to download it as well. Beyond being cost effective (and liberating), it’s also one of the more popular services of its kind. Given the broad array of options and in particular their robust video downloading service, it’s a great tool for converting files to a format that works for you.


AreaVibes: Find the Best Places to Live

There are three things people look for when it comes to owning property- location, location, location. At the end of the day people aren’t as concerned about the quality or design of the house as they are the people and area they live around. If their kids walk out the door and are offered illicit substances it doesn’t matter if their house is a mansion. If they have a great view of the ocean but the schools in the area are sub standard then that may not be the best either. Where your house is located makes all the difference in the world.

But how does one go about learning about a new location. Let’s say you’re moving to a far off town in the Midwest. Or perhaps you’re moving to the big city. In today’s day and age it’s easy to look for houses online but it’s not as easy to learn about the neighborhood. That is, until AreaVibes came along.

AreaVibes Home

AreaVibes is a resource that contains a complete set of researched information about any location in the US. It can be sorted by city or neighborhoods within that city. As we all know towns have good parts and bad parts. AreaVibes gives you a full picture of the general feel of a place. It contains a hierarchical set of scores culminating in the a single AreaVibe overall score. This final score is a number between 1 and 100 which gives you a bird’s eye view of an area.

The real power of AreaVibes is in drilling down and checking out what a city’s comprised of. For instance in San Francisco we received a towering 78. I imagine the 22 points we lack comes from our homeless sections cordoned off in various pockets. Some of the categories we can explore include the ever important cost of living, crime index, education, and employment. Clicking on education brings up stats on the total number of public and private schools, student/teacher ratio, graduation percentages of the various grades, and a variety of other statistics. It even lists all the universities and colleges.

Taking another tour through AreaVibe’s results I searched through the health and safety section. This brought up everything from numbers of police officers, ratios of officers per 1000 residents, number of hospitals, and air quality information. All these pages have a moderated comments section so people can contribute their on the scene opinions of various locations.

Rounding things out AreaVibes provides city guides, demographic info, city reviews, Q & A forums, and local business info. It’s truly a complete resource of everything you would like to know about a place. And, to further interest clientele in contributing to their site they have a points system. Those who contribute photos, participate in forums, or post reviews will gain redeemable points. These can be traded in for gifts such as gift certificates from top retailers. It makes contributing to AreaVibes more fun and provides a more personalized view of various locations as well.

Researching a new location can be challenging. AreaVibes makes this infinitely easier than it’s ever been. Whether you’d like to see a high level score or want detailed information, you can find all the information you need. It helps you quickly narrow your search when planning trips or permanently relocating. From languages, gender ratios, to everything in between it can all be found at AreaVibes.


PicYou: Instagram for the Web

Uploading pictures to the web is nothing new. It’s been nearly two decades since the first image found its way to the internet. Since then people have taken to uploading pictures for almost every occasion. The web has veritably replaced the picture albums of yore. Nowadays people have the ability to take as many pictures as they want and then store them online. Digital cameras have freed us from the encumbrance of the film that preceded it as well as from the trips to the drug store to process them. I’m sure it’s true that right now there are more pictures in the world than there has ever been in the history of photography. And this will only keep increasing.

Now that taking pictures is so easy the question becomes what to do them. Some people go on a trip and upload 400 photos for their friends to relive every moment of their trip. I remember one friend who visited San Francisco and took pictures of everything. We walked by a manhole cover and I kid you not, she took a picture of that too. When it comes to taking pictures when on a trip I certainly do my part as well. But for sharing I’ve adopted the strategy of only uploading a few unique and iconic photos. It lets people’s imagination fill in the stories based upon a small sampling of the best pics.

PicYou Home

When people upload pictures it’s often to a social network. Formally they would be sent to MySpace. Now they send them to Facebook. As these sites come in and out of fashion so do the photos and memories they store. I suspect few people have logged into MySpace recently to relive some moments from their yesteryear. These photo albums of the past are slowly becoming lost to the internet archives, if they can even still remember their passwords. Some may find this shocking but Justin Timberlake himself is now an owner of the company that houses your old photos. Perhaps uploading pictures to the latest fad in the social networking world isn’t the way to go.

When I eat out I like to order the specialty of the restaurant. If I’m at a steakhouse I’ll order steak. At a seafood restaurant I’ll get fish. At a vegetarian restaurant I’ll have a few peanuts knowing full well I’m microwaving a burrito when I get home. The point being, more often than not those that specialize in something are the best providers of it. It’s time for a news flash- social networks weren’t built with photos in mind. Sure they include the ability to upload pictures and share and tag them but at the end of the day they were never intended to be photo albums to keep track of your pics forevermore. Fortunately, there’s a site that is- PicYou. It’s a new social network that revolves around pictures. It’s like an Instagram for the web.

The idea behind PicYou is that you can upload pics and share them with your followers. Before going into details I’ll note the most pressing issue- yes, it’s integrated with Facebook and Twitter. What’s more is that when the next big social network comes around they would have no problem integrating with it also. Finally your photos have a home.

PicYou is a bit like Twitter in it’s Follwer/Following system. Unlike Facebook where both parties must be agreed upon mutual friends it allows one way following relationships. This allows each person to create a unique picture feed from users they like. For instance the first person I followed had a series of pictures of Ferraris. Given my partial attempt to upload interesting pictures in my initial testing I don’t expect that they’ll follow me back just yet. As would be expected your home page is adorned with all the pictures from people you’re following.

PicYou Upload a Pic Interface

Since PicYou entirely revolves around pictures they have a unique and helpful interface for uploading them. You can either drag and drop them to the screen or use the old fashion browse method. Once the picture is uploaded you can add a title and then keyword tags so others can find it. From there you can crop it, include a photo frame, or apply a filter. The filters are particularly interesting. They add unique effects including Albion, Hipster, Kilowatt, and Infatuation. I’ll leave it to users to experiment with them. It’s not a full fledged photo editing tool, but having a few of the basics can be fun to play with.

PicYou enters into what’s known as a red ocean market. This is one that’s comprised of many competitors each of which draws blood, adding a decorative coloration to the pristine waters. But then, for some reason photos are something the web hasn’t gotten right just yet. PicYou is a fun and creative way to share photos with friends, both within its own network and on other social networks. It’s the definitive social network for photo sharing- one where we can both find new and interesting pictures, and finally not have to upload them anywhere else.