CyberNotes
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FotologEverybody seems to have gotten in on digital photography these days.  Even more than taking the photos, people seem to have gotten into sharing those photos with others via social networks and photo sharing sites.

Websites like Picasa and Photobucket have become popular places to upload pictures for online storage, and other sites like Flickr have become popular as social networks.Another site called Fotolog aims to be a social network for photo sharing, kinda like Flickr, but different. They claim to be the world’s largest social networking site (largely in part to their loyal users in Brazil) where members can communicate and connect via photos. 

What is Fotolog?

Fotolog was launched in May of 2002, so they’ve been around for a while. They recently celebrated their 5th anniversary, and currently receive around 13 million unique visitors, and 3 billion page views per month.

What people do at Fotolog?

Fotolog is meant to help people get social via photos. It’s as simple as that. Members can publish an online photo diary or photo blog, and share it with others.  You can use it to stay in touch with family and friends, but you can also use it to meet new people, hence the social networking.  At the time of their launch the focus was on catering to the new business of digital photography. It’s become huge since then, and Fotolog has grown right along with the digital camera industry.

Fotolog2

Interface

One of the things that I like most about Fotolog is that it’s simple.  There aren’t THAT many features which makes it easy to use, and people can comment on photos that have been posted, much like Flickr. Some might also consider their lack of features as a downside. It just depends on what your preference is.

Which is more popular?

Flickr is well-known as a social networking sight for photography, so I was curious which was more popular. Before I get to the answer, here’s some background information.  In 2005 Fotolog had just hit their million member mark, and now they’re adding about one million new members every month. They also sign up new users in 70 different countries, with many coming from South America and Europe.

So the answer? According to Alexa (take it for what it’s worth) – Fotolog is more popular than Flickr.  Yesterday Fotolog ranked 20th while Flickr was ranked 35th.  Perhaps they’re more popular because they’ve been around longer?

I hadn’t really heard much about Fotolog in the past, and I can say with certainty that I hear a lot more about Flickr than I do about Fotolog, but clearly they have done well for themselves.

How it works

The difference between Fotolog and many other sites is that it’s not a place to store a bunch of pictures. In fact, with a free account you’re limited to one photo per day. 

Each day that you go to Fotolog, you may upload one photo and it must be less than 2 megabytes.  From there you’re given 5,000 characters to provide an explanation, or a caption. After that, you date the picture and call it a day.  Because you’re only given one photo, you have to choose wisely which usually means that everybody is sharing their best photos.

Another great feature is that they offer an RSS feed that you can subscribe to so that it’s easy to keep up with photos that your friends have posted.

Once your photos are posted, you can wait for your friends and family to come leave a message on your Guestbook. With the free account, you’re limited to 20 Guestbook postings per photo, and 200 if you’re a paid Gold Camera member.

As I just mentioned, there’s a paid Gold Camera Membership which costs around $60 for a year.  That means that you are able to upload six photos per day, and you won’t have to deal with any advertisements.

Downside

I get that these sites have to be supported by ads, that’s how they’re able to stay around. However, the ads on Fotolog are sometimes a bit too much, requiring me to click so that I can continue to the page I requested.  It gets in the way of the experience when it’s that intrusive, but I guess that’s just another incentive to get the Gold Camera Membership/

Another downside is that they don’t use tags. I’ve gotten used to using tags, and I tend to find them pretty useful. Granted, tags weren’t popular back in the day when Fotolog launched, but it’s surely something that they could have added.

Other than that, I really don’t have many complaints. 

How to use it?

If you’re having a hard time coming up with one photo per day to upload, you could always just take a photo of yourself everyday for the next several years (you know, to keep track of aging), much like what someone did in the following YouTube video:

Wrapping it up

If you’re looking for a service to manage all of your photos, this isn’t for you.  Fotolog is about sharing the best of your photos with friends as a means of social networking. The process is simple, and I’d say it’s the perfect way to keep an online photo journal for free that includes only your best pics.

Visit Fotolog here.