Studies show that imagery tends to create positive emotions in people, and today’s Internet users love visually appealing sites. Rapid increase in the use of smartphones has contributed to this trend. Not only can phone users easily take quality pictures with their phones these days, but with the help of various apps they can quickly edit and share these images as well. Plus it’s just that much easier to view visual content on the screen of one’s phone than it is to read text. Many established and emerging social media networks took advantage of this growing popularity of visual content viewing and sharing. Here are some of the most widely used image-based social sharing sites.

1. Instagram


Instagram lets you add various artistic touches to your photos before sharing them with your friends. It started out as an iOS app, but expanded to Android and Web platforms. The massive success and popularity of Instagram among millions of users led to Facebook purchasing it for a billion dollars in 2012. Several major companies have taken advantage of Instagram for their marketing campaigns so far, encouraging customers to take photos of them holding or using these brands’ products.

2. Pinterest


Pinterest is another major player among image-centered social media sites. It allows users to “pin” various items they like around the Web, mostly images and videos, to their virtual pinboards. The platform includes several popular features, such as the ability to make a wishlist, plan a project or organize an event. You can use Pinterest to start a collection of images or links on the topic that interests you, or plan a trip by putting together a list of landmarks you want to visit. Users can browse each other’s pinboards, Like different images and Re-pin them.

3. Tumblr


Tumblr is a trendy microblogging platform, but unlike many of its competitors centered on text, it heavily relies on image sharing. You can Re-blog and Like different items on Tumblr, as well as follow bloggers and get followed by others. Great content has a potential to attract large follower bases on the site. You can share your Tumblr images within its inner network or via other mainstream social media sites like Facebook, Google+ and Twitter.

4. Flickr


Flickr is a popular image hosting and sharing platform, which also allows its users to network, chat, join various groups and rate the images of others. It provides users with as much as a terabyte of free space to host their pictures. It also lets you upload your images from any device, share them in full resolution, and set the viewing rights to public or private. The site makes it easy to organize your pictures, tag them and add any notes to them. You can browse the photos by individual users and various organizations, check out the pictures of different locations on the world map, or use images from the public archives in the Commons section.

5. deviantART


A social network for artists and art lovers, deviantART allows users to showcase their work, favorite each other’s images and comment on them. You can share deviantART projects you like via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Reddit, among other popular networks. You can also purchase prints and merchandise based on your favorite deviations. Artists are able to organize their images into galleries, participate in contests and collaborate on designs. They often use each other’s work for inspiration or as an element of their own art, crediting each other in the process.

6. Path


Path is a mobile-based social network and a quickly growing competitor to Instagram. It encourages its users to select only high-quality, trustworthy contacts by allowing them to create their Inner Circles, or networks of 150 contacts each, with whom they can share photos, videos, music and messages. In addition to private sharing via Path, the network also lets you share your images and other content via Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and Foursquare. You can tag people, places and things in your photos before uploading them to your stream.

7. Photobucket


Photobucket is one of Flickr competitors in the image hosting and sharing field. You can link your Photobucket account to your Twitter or Facebook to enable automatic photo sharing, and choose to share a single picture or an entire album with a single click. The site lets you connect with friends and see their newest photos and videos in your feed. Photobucket also has an image editing feature, letting you add various filters and effects to your photos. You can print images here as photo books, merchandize or regular prints.

8. Mobli


Mobli is a visual social media platform that allows you to share photos and videos via its mobile app. It gives users an option to share their own images, and discover others’ posts by using hashtags, locations or other criteria. You can browse the content feed on Mobli site to see what is currently being posted by subject or uploader. You can also connect with people on Mobli based on your common interests. The app’s autotagging feature allows it to automatically recognize and identify popular objects in images. While Mobli is partially based on the concept of Instagram, its location features and emphasis on feedback and comments allow it to bring something new to the table.

9. We Heart It


This image-based social media network calls itself a “home for your inspiration.” We Heart It lets you organize pictures you like into sets and share them with friends via its website or mobile app. A Heart Button bookmarklet makes it easy for users to share new content, and Heart It buttons can be added to Web pages. You can also share your favorite images via Tumblr, Facebook and Twitter without leaving the We Heart It site.

10. Panoramio


Panoramio is a geolocation-based photo sharing site. It was started as an independent project, but soon after was purchased by Google, and users can now view Panoramio photos as a layer in Google Maps and Google Earth. The site lets you get a better idea of any area in the world by viewing images shared by others. Users are credited for the photos they post, and you can view any individual user’s image collection by clicking their name. Panoramio was one of the first sites to utilize tag clouds, allowing users to easily access the photos with the most popular tags. Users who join Google Groups can further share photos by adding them to a group.

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