1. Picasa Web Albums www.picasaweb.google.com
I’ve got a variety of my own albums on Picasa. It’s like having an electronic photo album that can be shared with whomever I want. My best friend, Patty, and I took a trip to England a number of years ago and we each took about a billion photos with our cameras. When we got back to our respective homes we both wanted a complete set. What I really appreciate about Picasa is that I can upload and organize my photos and add in descriptions or titles. The
album can be shared by a url address that I can email, or I can just keep them for myself. An added benefit is that I have a backup of my photos just in case something happened to my computer.
2. A family web site
This is a new one for me. A friend and colleague told me that she’s created a web site for her family. I love the idea and have started one for my own family. In case you’re my family and you’re reading this, it isn’t live yet! We will be able to communicate with each other, share family stories and photographs. The site is password protected so no-one without a
password will be able to access it. I am using www.Weebly.com to create the site. The
domain name (URL) cost me about ten bucks for the year. The downside is that, as
easy as I find Weebly to use, there is still a learning curve and it’s taking a while to upload the photo albums. The reason I’m using this instead of Picasa or Tumblr is that I want to encourage dialogue and photo sharing between families. As we have about 4 generations of computer-savvy aunts, uncles and cousins, this seems like the way to go.
My sister-in-law uses www.tumblr.com and it’s a great way to share stories and images. She sent us the link and told us the password for the site. We are spread out over Canada and the U.S. and with busy lives, it isn’t always easy to keep in touch by phone. This lets us check in to see what the family is up to.
Our family has a variety of personal books that we’ve created to share photos, recipes and family stories. Although I love this option, it is limiting in that you still only have a finite number of copies. I did a recipe book last year and printed a copy for each family. Each family has growing children who will hopefully someday want a copy. Rather than print another copy of the book, the program I used provided me with a pdf version of the book that I can share as many times as I want. The one I used was available from www.Blurb.com.
On a bit of different note, www.DropBox.com is more of a file-sharing option using cloud storage. Unlike the other options, this one doesn’t have an option for creating albums and such. On the other hand, I love it for just sharing photos between friends and family. You create a folder and then invite others to join. You are not required to share folders, but you can. I’ve used this to scan and share with family members some of the photos I’ve got from
Grandma. You should be careful, though, when copying files to DropBox folders. Because it sets up like a folder on your hard drive, you need to make sure to copy and not move the files. Once they are in the folder and you’ve invited others to it, they have equal access and could delete or move your images, too. On the positive side, when my last laptop started dying, I was able to back it up to DropBox and subsequently move all my files to the new one.