Share per­sonal stuff pri­vately

The best ways to share per­sonal news, photos and videos with sen­si­tiv­ity

Mac Format - - IMPROVE - Christo­pher Phin

The best ways to share per­sonal news, photos and videos with sen­si­tiv­ity


Any­one can do it


As lit­tle as 10 min­utes to get things set up


Some photos to share

The ubiq­uity of so­cial net­works such as Twit­ter and Face­book means that to­day not only is it easy to share what­ever news and up­dates we want to with the en­tire world, but that for many there’s a bit of a ten­dency to over­share. This can be a prob­lem, both for those shar­ing – since it can have some pri­vacy im­pli­ca­tions for them, their fam­ily or oth­ers in their care – and for peo­ple who fol­low them. We all know the hell that is the re­lent­less del­uge of va­pid up­dates and barely dis­tin­guish­able photos from new par­ents that clog up Face­book!

Hap­pily, we can solve both prob­lems in this tu­to­rial, high­light­ing tech­niques and ser­vices that make it easy for you to share this news in a way that not only safe­guards pri­vacy but also that keeps the up­dates from over­whelm­ing those friends, ac­quain­tances and dis­tant rel­a­tives who aren’t that in­ter­ested.

Through­out, we’ll be us­ing the com­mon ex­am­ple of shar­ing photos, videos and more to keep peo­ple up to date with the progress of a new baby, but in most cases the fun­da­men­tal tech­niques we show can be used for a whole range of things – up­dates from a five-a-side football league, photos from a play­group, or a big home ren­o­va­tion pro­ject, say – ba­si­cally, any­thing that you want only a hand‑picked group of peo­ple to see, ei­ther be­cause it in­volves chil­dren (or oth­ers whose iden­ti­ties you want to pro­tect) or be­cause you know most peo­ple won’t be in­ter­ested.

There are more meth­ods for achiev­ing this than the few we high­light here – and if they work for you, great – but in choos­ing which to walk you through here, we’ve con­cen­trated on two things. First, they had to be easy to use, not just for you in shar­ing things, but also for peo­ple you’re shar­ing them with. This is par­tic­u­larly im­por­tant be­cause, es­pe­cially with a new baby, you’ll prob­a­bly want to share with some

Make use of the dif­fer­ent lev­els of vis­i­bil­ity Face­book of­fers you for ev­ery post that you make

peo­ple who are aren’t as con­fi­dent with tech­nol­ogy as you, so you need to re­duce that fric­tion as much as pos­si­ble. Sec­ond, we wanted ser­vices that, for the most part, are ei­ther plat­form-ag­nos­tic, or which have apps for a broad range of plat­forms, since it’s likely you’ll be shar­ing with peo­ple who use An­droid and Win­dows as well as iOS and OS X.

By in­vi­ta­tion only

Our favourite of the ways we’ve found to en­able all this is 23snaps (23snaps. com). You can see a step-by-step tu­to­rial on us­ing this free ser­vice on the next page. Although this means it’s not best suited to other kinds of shar­ing, its fo­cus on ex­actly the things you want when shar­ing news of a baby make it per­fect for that pur­pose. With its sup­port for photos, videos, mea­sure­ments, sta­tus up­dates and the con­cept of fam­i­lies built-in, you can think of it ba­si­cally as a kind of Face­book clone built specif­i­cally for shar­ing baby news!

Face­book it­self, of course, can be used for this sort of thing, and it’s ac­tu­ally re­ally good at it. The trick is to make use of the dif­fer­ent lev­els of vis­i­bil­ity Face­book of­fers you for ev­ery post that you make. While for most of us, the de­fault op­tions – Public or Friends only – cover what we need, you can cre­ate as many ded­i­cated lists as you want of spe­cific Face­book con­tacts. Cre­ate one called ‘Baby news’, for ex­am­ple, adding only those peo­ple you want to share this stuff with, and then when you choose that list from the ‘Who should see this?’ drop-down at the bot­tom-right of the com­pose area, only those peo­ple you’ve added will see it – and only they will see any ac­tiv­ity that hap­pens on it, and they may not share it fur­ther. You cre­ate lists by plac­ing the pointer over Friends on the left of your News Feed and click­ing the More link that ap­pears. Also note that Face­book al­lows you to cre­ate events, such as for a new ar­rival, and their vis­i­bil­ity can also be lim­ited to spe­cific lists.

Re­mem­ber that you can ap­ply dif­fer­ent per­mis­sions to dif­fer­ent posts

and photos, so you might post an an­nounce­ment of a new birth to all your friends, sig­nif­i­cant events to ‘Baby news’, and an un­fil­tered tor­rent of baby up­dates to another group called Grand­par­ents. You can change the level of per­mis­sions af­ter you post too, if you change your mind about who should see it. Note, how­ever, that if you want to ap­ply any sort of pri­vacy at all on Face­book, the peo­ple you want to share with will need to have a Face­book ac­count, which might rule out this op­tion for some rel­a­tives.

Avoid­ing so­cial net­works

Some peo­ple, though, might be un­com­fort­able with giv­ing so much in­for­ma­tion to Face­book – it might strike you as es­pe­cially dis­agree­able for a new baby to im­me­di­ately start their life on that site, for ex­am­ple – but there are plenty of other op­tions.

Ap­ple’s is called iCloud Photo Shar­ing, and you can cre­ate a shared al­bum from Photos, iPhoto or Aper­ture on a Mac run­ning OS X 10.9 or later, or from an iOS de­vice run­ning iOS 7 or later. You can in­vite peo­ple to this shared al­bum, and they’ll be able to com­ment on its con­tents and, if you al­low it, add their own media. Be aware, how­ever, that un­less you en­able Public Web­site in a shared al­bum’s set­tings, only peo­ple who use iCloud can see what you post to it, which, un­less the peo­ple you share with are in­vested in Ap­ple’s ecosys­tem, may de­feat the pur­pose for many. One nice thing to be aware of: photos and videos shared in this way don’t count to­wards your iCloud stor­age quota.

Still, you need some way to get your photos up and onto the in­ter­net so that they’re avail­able for oth­ers to view, and in part since so many of us al­ready use Drop­box, it’s worth in­ves­ti­gat­ing its shar­ing op­tions, specif­i­cally its new Carousel app. As we write, you can only cre­ate a shared al­bum from the Carousel iOS app, but peo­ple you share with can view it ei­ther in their Carousel app or in a web browser. The handy thing about Carousel is that it combs through all the files you’ve synced to Drop­box and lets you easily cre­ate a shared al­bum from the photos and videos stored there.

The ex­tent to which your photos are pri­vate with Carousel is a lit­tle com­plex. You can choose to make an al­bum avail­able to ev­ery­one who has its web

ad­dress – that is, the photos aren’t pro­tected on the web, and while it’s highly un­likely any­one would stum­ble across them, you don’t have any con­trol over the link be­ing shared fur­ther by oth­ers – and then also op­tion­ally al­low any­one with the link to com­ment or just view. Al­ter­na­tively, your friends and fam­ily can log in with their re­spec­tive Drop­box ac­counts to see ev­ery­thing and like and com­ment on photos too.

If you’re a big Twit­ter user, con­sider set­ting up an ac­count for your new baby, your sports club or some other en­tity, and set­ting it as pri­vate, only al­low­ing the ac­counts you bless to see the up­dates and photos you post there.

Fi­nally, don’t for­get about iMes­sage and email – yet also bear in mind their lim­i­ta­tions. While this is one of the most pri­vate ways to share media and news – es­pe­cially in the case of iMes­sages, which are en­crypted in transit – it’s also a bit of a faff, and the lo­gis­ti­cal over­head in­volved in send­ing stuff by email to ev­ery­one who wants it, rather than just mak­ing it all avail­able in one place for them to come and get can be oner­ous.

If you go down the route of shar­ing by email, be aware that you’ll need to bal­ance qual­ity with file size. Photos at­tached at their full res­o­lu­tion might not send, or might fill up or even be re­jected by the re­cip­i­ent’s mail­box (though Mail Drop can help with this), and if you shrink the size of the photos, they might not look as good at the other end, es­pe­cially if re­cip­i­ents print them out. That goes dou­ble for videos – con­sider up­load­ing them to YouTube or Vimeo in­stead, and set­ting pri­vacy op­tions there.

Don’t for­get about iMes­sages, which are en­crypted in transit be­tween you and their re­cip­i­ents

23snaps is an ex­cel­lent ser­vice for shar­ing baby up­dates, but there are lots of other op­tions for dif­fer­ent kinds of news too.

The fine-grained con­trol Face­book gives you over who sees your posts is ac­tu­ally pretty so­phis­ti­cated.

Carousel makes it easy to share photos and videos you’ve al­ready up­loaded to Drop­box’s servers.

If you email photos us­ing Mail, con­sider us­ing its Im­age Size op­tion, which can re­duce their file size – at the ex­pense of qual­ity.

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