Back in January, when the controversy over Instagram and Facebook’s terms of service was at its height, I wrote an article that posed the question: “Can You Use WordPress As An Instagram Replacement?”. The idea was to investigate whether it was possible to use WordPress with the addition of some plugins and freely available Android and iOS apps to substantially replicate the functionality of Instagram.
My conclusion was that while it’s somewhat possible to cobble together a reasonable facsimile of Instagram, it took a lot of effort to set up and maintain and the result offered nothing like the user experience Instagram provides. So, I forgot about the whole thing and moved on.
It appears that around the same time I was pondering the subject, a developer and blogger by the name of John Saddington was thinking along similar lines. Also dissatisfied with the claims that social media companies have over the content that is uploaded to their servers, he felt that the situation:
“eventually became so unbearable that I quit those larger (social) networks entirely … But I still really liked snapping images, and I wanted to own them from end-to-end, not just the capturing process, but also the publication of those images.”
Being a developer, Saddington decided to do something about it. He started a successful Kickstarter campaign and got to work solving the problem.
The result is Pressgram, an iOS app and WordPress plugin that replicates much of what Instagram can do, and does it much better than would be possible with a mashup of disparate elements.
If you’re familiar with Instagram, Pressgram shouldn’t be much of a surprise. The app allows you take a photograph, choose from a number of filters, and then have it automatically uploaded and published on either a self-hosted WordPress site or a site on WordPress.com. If you check out the obligatory unimaginative example image at the top of this article, which is of the same thing most writers photograph, you’ll see an example of Pressgram’s filters.
In addition to capturing images within the app you can add post titles and content as well as tags and categories. You can also share out your images to Twitter and Facebook
The WordPress plugin isn’t essential, but it provides a quick way to prevent the front page of a blog being cluttered up with images.
All-in-all Pressgram is a great solution for those of you who want to own the process of publishing your images. There are a few more features I’d like to see, such as extended image editing; and I found the uploading of images to my test site to be occasionally hit-and-miss, but it’s a relatively new app and is under under active development, so I’m sure the kinks will be ironed out in time.