Twittering Photos

If you follow my Twitters you may have noticed that I often post something I am doing with a link to a Flickr photo that shows where I am. I did that yesterday with the apple picking post and this morning with the rainy ride to lazy point post.

The photos come from my blackberry curve and often aren’t great but they do capture the moment. Most of the photos I’ve posted to Flickr in the past month have come from my Curve.

This whole curve to flickr to twitter thing is done using a service that Dave Winer built called Twittergram. He uses the Flickr and Twitter APIs to make the whole thing a snap. Dave opened the service up to anyone who wants to use it yesterday so you can try it out too.

Here’s some tips that you might find useful:

1) Sign in to flickr and then go to this upload by email page. Find the email address you need to send your photos to on that page and enter it into the address book on your phone (in my case the Curve).

2) On the same page enter a tag that you want all the photos that you send in from your phone to have. I use the word blackberry, but it could be twittergram, twitter, or something else.

3) I use MMS to send my photos to that flickr email address. I find it to be more reliable than email. In the MMS message, I put the twitter post I want in the subject line. That makes the twitter posts even shorter than the regular 140 character limit but I have not found this to be a problem.

4) When you sign up for the Twittergram photo service here, make sure to enter the flickr tag you selected for all phone uploads into the last field in the twittergram sign up page. That will allow you to continue to post photos to flickr via the flickr uploader without generating twitter posts for every photo. However, you will generate twitter posts every time you send photos in from your phone.

5) The upload to flickr via MMS is a bit flaky. About one out of every four or five times I do it, the photo never ends up on flickr. But I have found the twittergram service to be pretty reliable. If it gets from my phone to flickr, it always generates a twitter post.

That’s it. I hope you enjoy this as much as I do.

#VC & Technology

Comments (Archived):

  1. Adam Kalsey

    A friend of mine runs which allows people to photo stream their life. Send a photo from your phone, attach some text and a location, and all your friends can see it, comment in it, etc.Sort of like a combination of Flickr, twitter, and loopt.

    1. fredwilson

      does it let you keep your photos on Flickr?

  2. Timothy Post

    Fred:Thank you for mentioning that you use MMS with an email address. I was unaware that one could send MMS to an email address. You just saved me perhaps 2 hours this week trying at Beeline here in Krasnodar trying to get my mobile working with email.This Twittergram service from Dave is going to be great for me because so much of the things I “discover” here happen when I’m out and about. By the time I get back to the office the urge to share has passed.Is it possible for there to be an actual low resolution photo delivered inside the actual message? Over here trying to click through a link to the photo is painfully slow.Bolshoye spaseeba!

  3. Jim Kerr

    Why not just use Kyte?

  4. Andreas Lienemann

    Fred, there is actually another way of doing that which I find even more convenient using TwitterFeed .I use Shozu to upload some (but not all) photos taken on my mobile to Flickr. Whenever Shozu uploads a photo it automatically tags it with ‘Shozu’ in Flickr.In Flickr you can create a customized feed url for any tag you want. I simply take the feed url for the tag ‘Shozu’ and give it to TwitterFeed.This way you can not only choose which photos are getting uploaded, tagged with ‘Shozu’ and subsequently appear as tweets but also are they being uploaded in the background while you use your phone for other things and Shozu seems to be very reliable.Something else I really like about Twitterfeed is that it offers OpenID for authentication, which is not only very safe but also means there’s one password & username less for me to remember.Andreas Lienemann

    1. fredwilson

      that sounds like a similar solution and i’ll have to try it out.thanksfred

  5. Dan Buell

    I have played with Twitter for a very long time but honestly I don’t think the “rave” is going to last. From a pure functionality perspective if you explore the mediums whereby you can Twitter (blogs, facebook, etc.) you can already text (and mms) directly into posts, etc. Each of those web asset hosts also can notify you via cell phone on recent posts, etc.That relegates Twitter to being an exciting tool only to those who’s social circle actively and regularly uses the product. Perhaps it is the friends that I keep but I have never had the opportunity to follow anyone’s Twitters.I intend to play with it some more because when I read Fred’s posts, I feel like I’m really missing something but for the life of me, I can’t figure out what it might be…

    1. fredwilson

      relegates is not the right word because you describe exactly why twitter is so great in your second paragraph.get/find some friends on twitter and you’ll see what you’ve been missingfred

  6. joe lazarus

    Interesting. Your post inspired me to try to create a similar solution for location / map information. I’m not a developer so it’s a little rough around the edges, but in less than an hour I was able to hack something together using just RSS and some third party tools. I now have a special email address that I can send messages to from my cell that allows me to include a TinyURL link to a Google Map indicating the specific location related to my Twitter status like this:…If you’re curious, here’s how it works:1) I created a private Y! Group with me as the as the sole member as a means of converting the email to RSS. Each Y! Group comes with a group email address and an RSS feed for all the messages sent to that address. I send a message to my group with my status message as the email subject and a location in the body of the email. The RSS feed looks like this:…2) I created a Y! Pipe that reformats the RSS from Y! Groups and converts my location description into a Google Maps URL. A new RSS feed is generated by the Pipe with the updated data needed for Twitter. You can see the Pipe and it’s RSS output here:…3) I used to periodically check the Pipes RSS feed for updates and automatically post them to my Twitter profile. The final result is something similar to Dave’s work, though clearly not as robust and scalable.What I didn’t realize until I actually used this was that Google adds a cool element whereby you don’t actually need to know the exact address of certain locations. In the example above, I just typed “Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CA” on my cell, yet the map is smart enough to know the latitude and longitude of that non-specific location. The same holds true for most restaurants, venues, and public places as long as I append them with the city name.If you’d like to try it for yourself, just create a Y! Group, edit my Pipe, and submit it to TwitterFeed. That way you can tag your messages with a map when you’re heading to the Hamptons, out for dinner, or seeing some live music at a venue in town. Eventually, Twitter could process the map links and record your locations over time… sort of a poor man’s GPS.Thanks as always for the interesting post and props to Dave Winer for his creative thinking. ~ Joe

  7. RacerRick

    Me thinks I need some friends who twitter.

  8. monkeyleader

    hmm not sure if its working? Just tried to link mine without joy – still waiting on the update?

    1. obscurelyfamous

      I tried it a little earlier and it didn’t seem to go through for me either.

    2. Andy Swan

      Ya didn’t work for me….must have some kind of net-worth filter 😉 </badjoke>

  9. mdy

    Hi Fred:Thanks for your detailed write-up! There was enough detail in there for me to try it out for myself. 8-)Also, I wanted to share a minor note — Flickr will allow you to specify tags for each photo aside from the default tags on the Flickr Upload by Email page)… so you’re not stuck creating a tweet each time you upload a photo via email.You add tags for each photo either in the subject line or in body of the email message. Detailed instructions are available here. I just tested the custom-tagging feature and it worked fine with my photos.Thanks and cheers!

  10. Ok?

    If you don’t need to store the photos in your flickr account then you can use sites like zannel, mixelpix, Yappd or pixxie. Photo Twitter clones are popping up all over.

  11. brian

    Thank you for sharing these steps. I was meaning to write and ask how you do this.

  12. Brian McNitt

    What are you using for Flickr Username? I’ve tried using my Flickr login username, the URL style user (i.e. – 15760725@N05), and my friendly URL username and nothing works. Flickrtotwitter returns, “Can’t save your Flickr-to-Twitter info because The server,, returned error code 1: User not found.” Tried all three username formats with two different Flickr accounts but get the same error.

    1. fredwilson

      I am using my login usernameMaybe the service is down?

      1. Brian McNitt

        Did some more testing. Created new Flickr and Twitter accounts and got it to work but it won’t work with my original/primary Flickr account even though Dave’s app now says that all is well (i.e. – “Your Flickr-to-Twitter info was saved.”). The only difference I can think of between the two Flickr accounts is that I created a friendly URL on the Flickr account that doesn’t work (i.e. –…. Perhaps this throws a wrench in the works?** Dave: if you read this, here is a bug test case for you. Try using Flickr account: brian.mcnitt(Fred: sorry to turn your blog into the unofficial flickrtotwitter support forum.)

  13. Damon Clinkscales

    Fred, I know you are aware of SnapTweet, but I just wanted you to know we’ve recently added auto-tweeting based on a Flickr tag like Twittergram has. Best.

  14. Pierro Marie

    Take a look on AutoPostr – > Flickr + Twitter there you can find a link to SnapTweet toosalut

  15. jarofed

    Thank you for this tip! I never know, how to post photos from my mobile phone to Flickr. I use twitterfeed to redirect them to Twitter! And it looks really great!

  16. asata

    thanks. this was very useful.

  17. Ritu

    Thanks you sooo much for this! I’d been struggling with twitterberry & twipic forever and am so happy to have finally found a workaround.