Let's Celebrate Photo Journalism on Twitter

by Shannon Paul on August 22, 2009

I have this really big idea but I will need your help to pull it off.

What if we all came together to launch a contest for the best images posted to Twitter?

My idea was to have a contest where images that have been posted to Twitter via Twitpic, yfrog, etc. are submitted for popular voting. Images would be entered into a list of different categories that could include humor, food, cats, dogs, babies, friends, travel, breaking news, etc.

The winners should receive a prize/prizes from corporate sponsors, or individual benefactors.

Finally, the winning photos would be incorporated into an actual coffee-table type book in a print-on-demand format and all the proceeds from each sale would be donated to charity. After seeing Mark Horvath‘s presentation on InvisiblePeople.tv at last weekend’s Gnomedex conference in Seattle, I’m inspired to raise money to provide camera phones for the homeless.

What’s needed?

  • Well, first we need a site and hosting that can handle a mad rush of voting (maybe I’m being overly optimistic… let me know)
  • A designer to create a cool logo/skin for the site
  • A name for the contest
  • Ideas for categories
  • Corporate sponsors to supply prizes for the winners (maybe a really nice camera with a browser? I’m open to ideas)
  • Another really great designer to construct the layout of the book
  • A print-on-demand publisher to facilitate sales of the book

So… what do you think?

Does this idea have legs? I’ve already bounced the idea off a few people and most seem to think it has merit.

Can we come together to make this happen?

Photo by CC Chapman
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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

August 24, 2009 lwardell 1

Hi Shannon,

I think your idea does have some legs. Couple questions to figure out and or maybe just elaborate on…

How long does the contest run?

Who has final rights to the photos if they are being printed and used to raise money?

Who chooses the charity? Maybe the winner could choose the charity and get the donation made in their name? Could that be part of the prize?

U.S. based or International?

How do you plan to tie twitpic and yfrog submissions into the contest if not through their UI?

That all being said, I’m all for it and happy to help in any way I can.

~ Levi (@trontastic)


August 24, 2009 Shannon Paul 2

Thanks so much for raising these questions. All important details. I think rights from the image would need to be given up or at least shared. I would agree not to profit from the sale, but that the proceeds would benefit the selected charity. International would be fine unless it causes some kind of legal drama, but I would hate to limit it to U.S. with so many Canadian friends on Twitter. I was hoping to usurp the whole UI/API issue by having people submit the link from the actual tweet. The important factor here is that the image was posted to Twitter – not to a particular host site.

Thanks again, Levi! These are all important details to consider. :-)


August 24, 2009 Andrew Hyde 3

Love it (as ususal).

Uservoice is awesome out of the box user voting.

I could rock some design for it.

Let’s talk more… Startup Drinks tonight?


August 24, 2009 Shannon Paul 4

Sweet! I’m there. :)


August 24, 2009 Paul L'Acosta 5

Ok, “you had me at hello”. It does have legs and wants to jump; excellent idea! What about doing it annually? Like a yearbook for Twitterers… You know, like a print version of The Shortys but with pics?

Sponsors can…hmm, sponsor? each category: like PETS could be someone like PetsMart; for travel, Travelocity, etc. Each section may feature the top 100 and then from those there’s a grand prize winner (recipient of a gift from the sponsor).

Like I say, it does have legs. Let’s just make it walk! :) Hope you stay in touch!


August 25, 2009 Avil Beckford 6

Hi Shannon,

I really love this idea, go for it. I would certainly participate.



August 27, 2009 Asya Shalimova 7

Name suggestion – Twitterazzi (twitter+paparazzi)

Great and worthy idea!

Talking about the categories, I guess it’s pretty hard to define them, cause most twitter pictures are the same gerne – live reporting from somewhere. Maybe it should differ on content – like Nature, Event, City Landscape, People… smth like that.


September 9, 2009 ajn/ 8

Do Twitter and Blogs Really Drive software sales?


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  • Twitted by AlexisDias August 25, 2009

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