I am horribly Facebook-dependent; there, I’ve said it. No matter how irritated I am with how outdated my News Feed is I still check and refresh it three times every 10 minutes. And despite what studies say that people don’t really care about the photos I upload, I still do it pretty regularly so that a huge bulk of my family and friends a whole country away won’t ever lose touch with me. I am not alone in this – a lot of people upload a lot of photos on a regular basis. Recently, I found an opportunity to use Facebook’s new Shared Albums featured in order to streamline my photo sharing.
If only it’d been that simple.
Preface: I am a huge Jason Mraz fan. Huge enough to start a community of women like me who are also huge fans, and every year, we try to catch a concert together. This year on Labor Day weekend, seven of my friends from this online community and I flew and drove in from various parts of the country and together (with my husband in tow, bless him) we went to San Francisco for the Jason Mraz concert.
We arrived at the venue early and lined up about eight hours early. And then, after this show… we decided to hit the road and drive six hours to Santa Barbara, where we would repeat the same pattern and see another show.
Yes, these are intense levels of fangirlism going on.
You can probably connect the dots for yourself: For one, we were at a concert (actually, two). Secondly, it was a group get together. Thirdly, we were fangirling out. So obviously, we were taking an embarrassing amount of pictures.
Being the “leader” of these merry women, it was up to me to figure out the best way to collate and consolidate our photos. After trying out a few options, we settled on Facebook’s Shared Albums.
What could possibly go wrong?
The three things that are going to drive you crazy
1. The photo upload limit. Someone once told me that in order to ensure a person goes through all the trouble to check out your photo album on Facebook, you’ve got to keep the photo count on the low side – anything over 100 photos in one album is already excessive and unless your Facebook friend is indeed a good friend, you risk your album being skipped altogether. If you’ve exhausted two 4GB memory cards snapping pics on your week-long vacation, it’s best to segregate photos by day (or, if you went island hopping, by destination) so that your poor unfortunate friends won’t have to trudge through an album of 300 or so images.
While it’s great that Shared Albums allows up to 50 contributors, the 200 photo upload limit per person is pretty ridiculous. What happens if all 50 contributors max the limit out? With this question in mind, I told my friends to choose only their best pictures to upload into the group album (after all, some of them have already shared theirs on their personal timelines).
What I didn’t take into consideration is that for most Facebook users, it’s way easier to just select all and dump the photos into an album rather than curate it.
And thus, a massive surplus.
2. The notifications. All contributors essentially become album owners, which mean they all get notified if someone likes or comments on photos. That becomes a problem when a trigger-happy friend goes on an unstoppable liking spree. Multiply likes to the number of photos uploaded every time a contributor “contributes,” and this is what you get:
3. Get ready for duplicates. Since we came as a group and pretty much stayed together the entire time, we ended up taking virtually the same photos of Jason Mraz and the band, of each other, and of the venue. Sure, we have a couple of gems that only an individual was able to capture, but majority of the images we’ve collated were, I admit, on the redundant side.
This is probably going to be true of nearly any kind of group event. “See that mountain? Let’s all take a picture of that mountain!”
But it’s not all bad
Despite the aforementioned factors that sort of diminished my excitement for Shared Albums, it certainly has its usefulness.
1. No camera? No problem! If you didn’t bring a camera advanced enough to take quality photos in a dim-lit concert arena, you can still join in on the fun and reminisce on the good times you’ve shared together with your friends.
2. You can take a photographer break because you can be confident that someone else is snapping shots. You can take comfort in your decision to shoot fewer photos and just immerse yourself in Jason Mraz’s music (or whatever you’re doing). When it comes down to it, nothing beats mental photography.
3. You get a crappy photo pass if all the pictures you took while swaying and jumping up and down turned out blurry. This is additionally useful if like me, you end up with bleacher seats for the second Jason Mraz concert you go to while others are two steps away from the stage – you get to enjoy the photos your front row friends take (and secretly envy them). Also useful if gadgets unexpectedly fail you after the fact.