Previously, Facebook, the social network that has a lot of people having a love-hate relationship with, has led the field with the concept of people tagging in its early days and has improved on the privacy issues with that. This concept has been taken further with some image-management software like Windows Photo Gallery
A classic scenario that encompasses every Facebook user is a group event like a party or holiday. Here, each member takes plenty of photos of this event with their smartphone or digital camera and most if not all of the members have each other as Facebook Friends. But what do we do with these photos and how do we share them?
Typically, each of us would create an album in our own Facebook Profiles, having it set as “Friends Only” or “Friends Of Friends”. Then we would add the photos that we took at the event to this album. These photos and any subsequently-added photos would then be advertised in each others’ News Feeds and each of us could view each other’s albums of the same event.
One way I thought that this situation may be mitigated would be to create an event-specific tag that you attach to photos or albums and support browsing along photos and albums that contain this tag no matter who created them. This could effectively created a “super-album” for that event or place.
But Facebook have recently added a feature where other Friends can contribute images to an album. Here, the owner of the album can specifically invite others to add the photos or make it a free-for-all; yet be able to edit the images as required. There are three privacy levels for the album – public (everyone can view), friends of contributors (contributors and their Facebook Friends) or contributors only can view the whole album.
In the case of someone who “came in to town” or you went on a trip, they or you could create one album which encompasses the shots around town plus one or more albums with public events which they own. Then, when they are invited to a dinner party or other event by local friends, they (or the hosts) create an album set up for contribution in their Facebook Profile with appropriate settings and use that album for images of that event.
If you hosted a party like a 21st, you or a guest could run one of these albums so that guests can contribute images from that party. The large album size that is being part if the equation can allow you to see the album become Facebook’s equivalent of the photowall that some hosts may use for major parties.
A problem that I do see with the contributable album is Facebook making it difficult to move or copy photos between albums. This is of importance with the “mobile” albums that mobile Facebook implementations always insist on creating such as “Mobile Uploads” or “iOS Photos”; along with generically-named albums that Instagram and other apps like creating. I would suggest that this feature is augmented with the ability to move or copy photos between albums.
As well, Facebook allowing the use of user-determined tags could allow for the creation of “super-albums” for events or places without the need for one person to create contributed or other albums.
Similarly, the ability to create shortcuts to albums or photos between one’s own profile and a Page that one is administering could work as a way to avoid the need to upload pictures twice for a page and one’s own profile.
As for client software, I would like to see Facebook mobile clients be DLNA servers / control points so that one could “throw” single images or collections of images such as the albums to a Smart TV or TV attached to a DLNA-capable Blu-Ray player if you want them on a large screen or for group viewing.
At least Facebook are taking better steps to making it easier to “pool” photos of group events in order for all of the members of that group to enjoy them.