Filters for Twitter photos have arrived.
In a tech world where the mobile application dominates, multi-channel marketing agency RAPP has created a photo-filtering service without one. Well, without creating a new app, at least.
Craig Elimeliah, VP and Director of Technology and Digital Solutions at Rapp, wanted to experiment with new ways to tell a more complete story using Twitter and imagery. With Pananorama, Elimeliah and his team have done it.
As the project's site explains, a Twitter user would 'simply snap a pic with a phone, Tweet that picture along with a filter hashtag, and then see it transformed.'
How exactly does it work?
Elimeliah explains to CNBC.com in an email that Rapp has created custom photo filters and associated those filters with a hashtag on Twitter.
The service monitors Twitter for images in a tweet containing these selected hashtags. If it finds a tweeted image along with one of Pananorama's hashtags, the service will automatically send the user a link to the now-filtered image in a Direct Message or an email alert.
To put it simply, Elimeliah says that after following @pananoready and "upon tweeting your image with any of the filter hashtags (which can be found in a list on Pananorama.com), you will receive an instant response with a link to view your image in the site's gallery."
Follow. Snap a photo. Pick a filter hashtag. Tweet. Receive your filtered picture in seconds.
Even further, the service can take a trending topic and instantly associate a custom filter to that topic.
"Presto," Elimeliah said, "You now have both filtered words and images branded on a photo in real time. No friction whatsoever."
(Critics may complain that the photo will need to be tweeted twice before a user's followers can view a filtered photo; once to alert Pananorama that you'd like the photo filtered and again after you receive it. The workaround would be to tweet the original photo to a dummy Twitter handle, causing it to be only visible to you.)
Elimeliah says he came up with the idea when he instinctively tried to filter a Panoramic image he took with his iPhone and realized that he was unable to. At the same time, the developer was experimenting with coming up with ways to make hashtags on Twitter more functional. It was then when the magical moment hit.
We couldn't help but ask Elimeliah a few additional questions.
How could this be big for brands and media companies?
Elimeliah: This is huge for brands & media companies.
Many brands would love custom filters but cannot get them through the current photo-filtering applications. We eliminate that by giving them a turnkey solution to release a hashtag and filter combo or leverage a trending hashtag to join in on the conversation by providing users the ability to "brand" images through filters, logos & text overlays.
News Broadcasters have now regularly turned to Twitter to crowd source images of the scene of a crime, a storm, etc., and they ask the audiences to please Tweet on-location images to a branded network hashtag. However, most of those images go unnoticed or aren't "branded" in a way that suites the network.
Pananorama allows anyone to take any size image and hashtag it to the network.
Let's take for example #CNBC2012 (the hashtag around CNBC's social conversation relating to the election). An associated image will instantly get a bit of love with a filter to perhaps sharpen it or give it a bit more of a journalistic edge, as well as put CNBC's logo onto the image — turning it into something the network uses on air or online.
It is an instant content creation tool that is social at its core. Whether a panoramic, large or small image — it works on any device from anywhere.
Why can't Instagram, which is owned by Facebook , be the go-to photo-filtering tool?
Elimeliah: Many of the photo-filter apps are limited in the above regard, as it keeps the images very small, square and users can only choose the filters they make available. Let's face it, many are bored with the selection. I can literally create a filter right now on the fly, add it to the service and then associate it with a trending hashtag. Suddenly, you have a more complete story.
What more can Panonorama users look forward to?
Elimeliah: Our service will soon allow people & brands to actually create their own custom filters the way photographers have always done manually. It uses Twitter as its social component.
We are eliminating a step and letting people socialize and be creative at the same time. We study culture and behaviors and try and find frictionless ways to get people to do more with less.
Twitter makes this social by design and making hashtags function is just an example of us as an agency to create a better way to communicate on the platform.
Will this compete with Twitter as it inches closer to releasing its own photo-filtering service?
Elimeliah: My job is to basically come up with these kinds of experiments (we call it innovation) where we find opportunities to leverage these channels in ways they themselves are lacking. It's not agency vs. startup; it's agency startup in a symbiotic relationship where they build channels and we innovate with them.
To test out Pananorama and get your photo-filtering on, click here. Let us know in the comment section whether you find this service useful.