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Monday, 16 May 2011

Twitpics - Citizen Journalism in Photo Form

As a big fan (and user) of Twitter, I see a lot of pictures posted through 'twitpic', this a website that allows twitter users to post pictures, and then link their followers to them in their tweets. It's basically Twitter's answer to facebooks 'picture feature'.

Although, much like the comparison of 'tweets' and 'facebook status', they have very different uses. Facebook pictures are to show you drunk on a night out, letting people see your family holiday photos, and are generally a more personal collection. Twitpic is different (at least for most people). It's where people make observations in their day to day life, maybe a comical sign they've seen in the street, or more interestingly - a big news-worthy event that they've seen right in front of them.

On May 10th, there was some controversy after Twitpic altered its term and conditions, and lead to a number of users cancelling their twitpic accounts altogether. I personally saw a number of tweets where people were criticising the website, and there were trending topics such as #twitpic and #delete. This was after the changes seemed to suggest that the website were claiming the right to sell pictures on without the consent of the publisher.

However, in the last two days since then, Twitpic founder Noah Everett has described it as 'lack of clarity'. Instead it is seen as a way of protecting photos from the media after a number of pictures were used in news reports without permission. The new terms means that the photos can only be distributed by 'company partners', which is similar to many other picture-hosting websites.

Just as an example of a great 'citizen journalism' photograph. Here is one of the most famous 'twitpic photos' from early 2009 when a US Airways jet crash landed in a river. http://twitpic.com/135xa

You can read the BBC's own report on this story here - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-13372982


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