Follow-up regarding my "Instagram experiment". Instagram turned out to be a really easy, convenient way to share photos with family "live" during the adventure. More than once I went almost 24 hours without any cell coverage, so "live" meant as soon as I had enough data access.
While it's easy to go overboard with editing and various photo effects, I do think the simple filters helped to enhance several of my photos. I probably ended up using a filter on 50% of the photos I posted. For the other 50%, I felt the "raw" photo looked better or good enough. I definitely did not like the filters that altered the colors in a dramatic way--seems fake, which turns me off.
Now the downside.
Turns out that once your photos are in Instagram, they are kind of held prisoner. Yes, there are ways to get your photos out of the system for use elsewhere, but Instagram does not make it easy. For example, Instagram does not provide a URL you can use to embed your photos in systems like RideForum or AdvRider. This leaves me needing to upload my photos to a different online photo hosting system in order to share them on AdvRider, etc. Ugh. I really want to share the Instagram photos directly since they have been cropped, filtered, etc.
What Instagram does provide is an "embed" code feature that gives you a "data URL" for your image, but most forum systems (like RideForum, AdvRider, etc.), won't play nice with data URLs. I understand why Instagram does this---they don't want any system resource being used unless people are directly viewing the Instagram system.
I don't really
care about the ability of my photos to "go viral" or for hundreds of people to discover my photos socially through hashtags and social degrees, although it was interesting to see strangers and companies liking my photos or start following my account. I do care that it's something my family will use--that makes it almost automatic for them to see my photos. For example, I can send my family a link to a RideForum.NET topic where I post all my ride photos, but they are unlikely to make the effort to go there daily to see my photos. So it seems important that I put my photos into whatever streams they are already watching....which means one of the major social networks such as Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, MyFaceGram, etc.
So what do I do? I think I'll explore the Imgur app. Imgur is free and they do everything they can to make it extremely easy and flexible to use your photos anyway and everywhere you want. I don't know how successful I'd be at getting people to "follow" me on imgur, but for a big multi-day ride event, I think those that care to know if I'm alive (my wife and daughter) would be willing to install imgur and watch my photos--at least temporarily during the event.
It does not appear the Imgur app provides any cool effect filters like Instagram, but I bet I can find an app just for that so I can touch photos before uploading in Imgur.....but if it's too many steps, it means I'm less likely to add photos.
Technology is a love/hate thing with me for sure!