Twitter will launch its own photo sharing feature very soon, according to a purported scoop by Alexia Tsotsis today at TechCrunch. After years of struggles to stay online and apparently giving up any hope of retrieving archival messages in text for its users, a move into photo hosting and sharing would be another show of confidence by Twitter in its newfound architectural stability.
But would you trust Twitter to host your photos? Twitter, the network for fleeting thoughts, in short form? The service that has let so much history pass through its fingers with so little agony voiced over its barely accessible archives and shallow search? I don’t know if I, or others, will trust Twitter to host photos. I want mine cross-posted to Flickr, just for safety’s sake. I asked, on Twitter, if other people would trust Twitter with their photos and got a resounding No. Tweets are Tweets, but photos are something special.
It’s unclear exactly when such a feature could launch, Tsotsis reported that it could happen within days but noted with a Crunchlike grin of self-satisfaction that “naturally this post might change that.” Maybe.
Many developers have expected Twitter to do something like this for a long time, though, and it makes a lot of sense for the company to enrich its offering by building photo sharing in-house. Twitter has said over and over that developers shouldn’t build apps that mirror what an official Twitter client does or even might do. They are the media company, their ecosystem participants are now the analytics providers on top of the media – not the media themselves.
Facebook, of course, has a long and illustrious history of success with photo sharing and archiving. Facebook was a network built on trust, security and privacy though – until its talons were sunk deep enough that it could do a 180 on privacy without anyone feeling capable of leaving any longer.
Twitter is different. It’s public, wide open, temporal, poorly archived.
Those days may be past, though. Twitter’s staff is much larger and stronger than it was in the early days and its struggles with archives may be more a result of historical architecture than the company’s current state. The company added a feature back in last week, for example, that it had removed two years ago because it was computationally expensive.
Would you, could you, should you trust Twitter to save your precious little moments in pictures? We’re likely to find out very soon.