Picfog is a real-time image search engine that displays photos uploaded to Twitter as a visual stream. Here’s how it works: Searching a keyword on Picfog will create a live stream of tweeted photographs mentioning that topic. You can also browse the most tweeted photo topics in the “Breaking Now” list. The tool is most powerful when it comes to tracking live events, for example the blaze that engulfed an office building in London’s Soho neighborhood on Friday, last Sunday’s Mets game or the season premiere of “Entourage” on HBO.
Using Picfog adds another layer to conversation monitoring on Twitter. Using Twitter’s simple search tool can yield interesting insights into what people are saying about a topic – but Picfog takes this a step further, allowing you to see how people are interacting with an event as it happens.
PicFog can assemble all images accompanying tweets of a certain keyword and present them as a live stream. Clicking on an individual thumbnail will pull up a larger version of the image, as well as the original tweet. Below are some sample tweets and their corresponding photos from “Entourage” fans tuning into the Sunday night premiere.
Picfog presents an exciting opportunity for brands to monitor conversations and, perhaps more importantly, encourage consumers and fans to submit multimedia feedback during events. And since the platform is keyword-based, brands can assign their own hashtags to events and make it easier to aggregate conversations across Twitter. Marketers already use Twitter to collect user-generated content, but tools like Picfog open up the conversations by providing a live stream of media that everyone (not just the brand) can see.
Here are some examples of how Picfog might be used:
TV shows: Shows can promote live tweeting during episodes and encourage viewers to hashtag photos with a certain keyword. Sharing a link to Picfog results (it would look something like picfog.com/search/HASHTAG) would let viewers see how other fans are interacting during the show. Another way to fuel engagement: have a live scavenger hunt during the show. For example, the first fan to snap a photo of the lead character, a basketball and a dog would win.
Sports teams: Teams can encourage fans to get in on the action during games by live tweeting. As an example, a minor league baseball team might take some of its in-game promotions online, inviting fans at the game to tweet a photo of the stadium for a chance to win tickets to the next game.
Bands and musicians: Like sports teams, music acts can hold similar promotions at live concerts. A band might link to Picfog results for a certain show (with an assigned hashtag) on its Web site so that fans unable to attend can see live photos from the concert.
As mobile devices continue to become more sophisticated in their ability create and share multimedia content “on the go,” marketers will have increased opportunities to facilitate live conversations about their brands that will ultimately lead to higher engagement with consumers. Picfog is a useful tool to aggregate this user-generated, multimedia content in real-time.