Working With Pressgram

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A few weeks back, John Saddington released the much anticipated photo sharing app Pressgram. I’ve been following the app since the idea was first introduced and eagerly waiting for a chance to test it out. I’ve had a chance to give it a whirl and have been extremely impressed so far.

The idea for Pressgram was initially born out of John’s love for creative control and ownership. Unlike other photo sharing applications like Instragram and social sharing applications like Facebook, Pressgram allows you to publish your photos to your own platform rather than contributing to their mess. This tends to make sense. Facebook and Instagram both rely on your content to monetize their site. If you weren’t posting information and driving your friends to the site to read about your life, Facebook wouldn’t have much of a business model.

Right out of the box, Pressgram delivered. Outside of a few bumps in the road concerning publishing to my blog (which the support team – eh, John – was more than happy to help sort out via email himself), the app was easy to use, featured some pretty decent filters, and had all of the integrations I would ever want (although more are on the way I hear). While I do have my own reservations about publishing all of my content to Facebook and Instagram, I wanted to test out Pressgram for several other reasons:

1. I wanted a digital home.

Over the past few months, I’ve made a conscious effort to streamline online conversation. This was both for my sanity and for organizational purposes. I was pulling my hair out trying to post to Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Linkedin, and Instagram. I honestly have no idea how anyone can keep up, but I guess that’s why Social Media Managers exist.

So, I started putting things on the chopping blog. Google Plus was the first one to go because I’m honestly not interested in building it up. Point blank – I’m sure that Google Plus will hang around for awhile, but the adoption rate for users has been pretty slow. Since I want to interact with the most people with the least amount of effort, Google Plus was out. I still post to Linkedin occasionally. Finally, I grew somewhat of a distaste for Facebook and Instagram.

To me, it made the most sense to have my own personal website as a digital home. I’ve been transforming the content a bit to be less about page views and more about sharing my thoughts and ideas (hence this post). Along with that shift, I wanted to share a bit more about myself including photos. Pressgram offered a terrific option that allowed me to still have filtering capabilities but also easily publish those images to my own platform.

2. I like the idea of owning my content.

Now, I said I like the idea. I’m not fanatical about it, and I’m likely not going to go on a tirade and protest. Heck, I still publish to Medium every once in awhile. I still own a Facebook even though I post content very infrequently and probably am not a very valuable member to the social media platform.

Here’s the deal: I really enjoy creating content and helping others to create content as well. I think that the ability to push your thoughts out to the world is extremely powerful. Now, since you created the content, put the words together, and took the pictures, shouldn’t you have full control over where that content appears and how it’s used?

3. I don’t like giving away page views.

Simply put, Facebook and other social services depend on your content to generate page views. They then turn around and monetize these page views through various outlets. I’ve worked in digital advertising enough to know that these page views can be worth a pretty penny. They’re earning that money off of page views for your content. Seems a bit backwards no?

I’ve never been fanatical about page views on my own blog. Do I wish that I had thousands upon thousands of visitors a day? Of course. But, it’s not the driving force behind me publishing content here. I’d rather share my ideas and let those posts and ideas weed out visitors and attract others that really want to be here. Still, although my main focus isn’t on page views, I don’t like giving them away. Since I post the photos here to my blog, the sharing links drive traffic back here where visitors can read more about me if they want.

4. I’m a sucker for new.

I’ll admit that I have a slight obsession for new stuff, particularly when that stuff is free. When Pressgram came out, I knew I was going to give it a try. In my opinion, this is a pretty big step forward for digital publishing, and I think it’s definitely going to stay awhile.

What about the community?

One of the biggest drawbacks to leaving Facebook and Instagram for Pressgram was the community that I was leaving behind. I’d spent several years gaining friends and followers that were there to consume content and “like” status updates and photos. Joining Pressgram meant starting all over again. I’ll be frank, as of the time of this writing, I have zero followers on Pressgram. That means when I share a photo to the app, nobody is there to see it. But, that’s not really important to me.

The app was created first and foremost as a publishing tool that allowed average Joes and even professional photographers to share their work with the world through their own platform. It wasn’t meant for you to aggregate thousands of followers that would like or repin your content. The point was to drive those follower to your blog where they could learn more about you and engage with you on a deeper level. The truth is, I’m not concerned with gaining followers on Pressgram. Instead, I’m more concerned with driving folks to the point of the real conversation, which is right here.

My experience a few days in

Admittedly, the first few days were a bit frustrating. The app didn’t work correctly right out of the box, and I was unable to share photos to the blog. It was a bit frustrating, but at the same time, I realized that this was one guy that created and app and was now trying to manage and handle the 3,000+ users that downloaded the app on the first day. There were bound to be some bumps in the road. Still, John and the support team have been working double-time to work out the kinks.

Here are some initial thoughts:

  • The photo filters aren’t the best. However, as I mentioned above, the app is meant for publishing, not to be the top tier in photo filtering.
  • The community is small, but as I mentioned above, that wasn’t the main focus of adopting Pressgram. I’m comfortable knowing that the majority of folks using the app are likely going to be bloggers and writers that want to keep ownership of their material.
  • There are few integrations. WordPress, Facebook, and Twitter complete the list so if you’re looking to publish to Google Plus, you aren’t in luck. I have a feeling that will change soon though.
  • You might use up space quickly. Since the photos are automatically added into your Media Library on WordPress, you might run out of space quickly depending on your particular plan on or hosting service. There’s always the opportunity to purchase additional space though.
  • The team is fully-vested. I submitted a support ticket and received an email from John in less than 10 minutes. That’s pretty impressive.
  • People are checking out the photos. I’ll publish a detailed post on how this affects page views and such down the road, but it’s definitely working.

If you’re interested in checking out my Pressgram photos, you can do so here. I’d love to hear any thoughts of other folks using the app!

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