Social Life: Is scrolling the future?

Photo / Supplied
Photo / Supplied

Hi everyone, I'm Paul Harper, social media editor and this is my blog on social media. Enjoy.

Is scrolling the future?

Reports of Facebook's demise may have been exaggerated, but with younger users looking elsewhere, we're wondering what will be the next big thing. A group of Kiwis hope they have found it. For the past 10 months they've been developing Scrollr, a "horizontal scrolling, content-based social network".

Scrollr, the brain child of University of Auckland business students Tim Jennings, Andrew Wallace and Jing Seth works much the same way as other sites, with users voting up or down content they like (or down if they don't), and "rescrolling" content if they wish. Posts can also be shared on other social media sites.

Scrollr's head of marketing AJ Tills says with Scrollr the reach of your content is not limited by who follows you.

"If you choose, your content is pushed directly to the main page, where, depending on user votes, you will have a global audience.

"There are no barriers to being discovered.

"Quality control of the site content is effectively maintained by the active user base. Users have the ability to upvote content they love, or downvote content they're not interested in. This ensures relevant and trending content on the main page," he says.

"Users are also able to filter based on the source of the content. They can scroll through content uploaded by their friends or followers, scroll their favourite celebrities or they can actually scroll based on what content other people are viewing. In regards to other platforms, we have always said that we aren't like any of them, but we are all of them."

The main point of difference is Scrollr uses horizontal scrolling, as opposed to vertical. Tills says this was decision made early on in the project's development.

"We wanted to maximise the use of screen space to provide users with the best experience possible," he says.

A screenshot of Scrollr. Photo / supplied
A screenshot of Scrollr. Photo / supplied

Tills believes the majority of the site's users to be aged between 13 and 30 years old, and hopes it will gain popularity artists, photographers and other businesses use Scrollr to share their work and extend their reach.

The website is currently in the beta stage, however Tills expects Scrollr to officially launch next month. An app is also planned for the future, once a certain number of regular users have been reached.

After a brief look at Scrollr, the website appears to have potential. The horizontal scrolling works well, it's easy to navigate and images stand-out more so than they do on rival sites such as Pinterest. The success of the site is going to come down to the quality of the original content shared and whether Scrollr can cater for a wide range of users. At the moment a lot of the content is scantily-clad, attractive women - and this may alienate some users.

Check it out Scrollr here.

Embed to give credit where its due

The use of unlicensed images on social media is rife, with accounts like @Earth_Pics and @HistoricalPics amassing hundreds of thousands of followers (FYI, @PicPedant and @FakeAstropix call out doctored images from these accounts and give credit to the original image's creator - worth a follow).

Acknowledging the illegal sharing of their imagery is not going away, Getty Images have launched Embed. Embed will allow people to embed an image from Getty into a website, blog or select social media that support embed capabilities, for non-commercial.

Getty's (warning: long title to follow) senior vice president, business development, product and content, Craig Peters, says the tool is a response to the "right-click and take" attitude to images.

"While we are very much supportive of broad-based publishing where everybody is a publisher, we want to make sure the use of copyrighted material actually has some benefit back to the photographer.

"So what we're trying to do with Embed is enable that use in an easy way, so they can access all of Getty's great content and they can do it in a legal manner and still drive benefit back to the photographer."

Peters compares the scenario to that faced by the music industry in the last decade, saying an innovative response was needed.

"We'd love it if people were right-clicking and taking imagery and using it without permission, we'd love it if everyone would come to our website and pay for that website and pay us for that imagery. But the reality is the world is not going to change just because we want it to change. It's a world that we have to figure out how to work within and embrace and we think this is a good first step in doing that.

"If we didn't do this I think we'd be making some of the same mistakes the music industry made back in the 2000s when they weren't providing an alternative and people as a result increasingly turned to unlawful means to access that content."

How will Embed help the photographer?

"The first part of the benefit is we give the photographer attribution and branding," Peters says. "People are then aware that that image was in fact taken by that photographer. Secondly, we provide a link back to Getty, which is to licence it for anyone who wants it for commercial use or they want to use it outside of the Embed player.

"Ultimately if we generate other revenue streams from the Embed capability we will be providing that revenue back to the photographers."

The tool can be used on any website or social media site which allows YouTube videos to be embedded.

"We will have probably north of 40 million images available at the outset as well as new imagery that comes in every day," Peters says. "It's really the vast majority of our news, sport, entertainment, archive and creative content."

It's a bold move, but Getty had to act. It will be interesting to see if it gets photographers off-side though.

Check out Embed here.

Tweets of the week

I was driving across the country when everyone was tweeting about the Oscars, so I missed all your no doubt hilarious comments. Then my phone died so I haven't looked at Twitter as much this week as usual. So here's the best of the few tweets I saw anyway.


If you've seen any great Kiwi Tumblr, Instagram, Facebook, Vine, Twitter, Youtube or Pinterest accounts that deserve wider attention, or there's a campaign on social that deserves a plug, let me know me. Suggestions are also welcome. I'm on Twitter here, Instagram here and Vine here. You can also email me here. Send abuse here.

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