Probably not a term you’ve heard very often—"phory"—but it’s been gaining steam in cyberspace for a while now and it’s got a rather familiar ring to it for us photo folk.
The creators of the Web site Whrrl.com are most directly attached to the word these days, and their site truly speaks to the growing trend of consumers wanting to tell their "daily" life stories—and we do mean daily—using photos and text. Whrrl combines mapping and micro-blogging technology for discovering and sharing local information on people, places, events and experiences. The application is free to download, but is only currently available to people in the U.S.
Whrrl.com essentially offers a unique way to share photos and tell a story simultaneously. Users upload their images and add short captions to each and they are placed in slideshow form. Nothing wildly unique is being offered here, but the interface is slick-looking, easy to use and can be linked to popular social networking sites. The resulting "phories" can be made public or kept secure for family and friends.
Perhaps it’s the public option that is most intriguing about Whrrl.com as many users are posting phories about social issues such as homelessness, the recent LA fires and 9/11.
The bottom line here is the obvious tie-in with imaging retail as these online phories can also become terrific opportunities for photobooks and other gift items. The best part about social media is the fact that it is getting images out of cameras and off of hard drives and into public view.
While years ago it may have been all the rage to offer classes on taking better pictures or even more recently on scrapbooking, there is an entirely new customer who might be interested in the emerging trend of Phory Telling and how best to perfect it.
"It’s a growing phenomenon," began Tim Greene, a New Jersey-based journalist that covers online consumer trends. "While static posting of content was all the rage years ago, today it’s about combining media to tell stories—sometimes even unfolding stories. It’s no longer about ‘we were here,’ it’s now about ‘we’re here right now and this is what’s happening.’ It’s also far more important to be visual about it."
The company behind the site, Pelago, launched a mobile version of Whrrl late last year—which certainly made sense as the concept speaks directly to that market—and Whrrl v2.0 was recently made available in the iPhone App Store. The company claims more updates and changes are planned.
"Whrrl v2.0 is our improved storytelling application for the Web and mobile phone that lets people share and remember their real-world experiences as they happen. Everyone—whether physically present or not—can contribute to the experience. Stories can be published to sites like Facebook and Twitter, and the storyteller controls who can view and participate," explained Pelago’s Heather Meeker, the company’s MarComm Director.
Consumers are getting more and more comfortable with quickly organizing and uploading their content to the Web and the trend today is clearly about telling a story rather then just posting pics.
And that’s no fish phory.