Comparing The Photo Publishing Experience of WordPress For iOS to Facebook and Twitter

Welcome Home Featured Image
photo credit: angusfcc

In late September, WordPress.com published the first in a series of short videos that shows how easy it is to publish content from a mobile device. In the 15 second video entitled “Welcome Home,” a user is seen taking photos with an iPhone in various locations. Near the end of the video, the user taps the WordPress mobile app icon and sees a post with one of the images captured by the phone. What’s not shown is the process of publishing the photo.

The take away from the video is that it’s easy to publish photos to WordPress.com from a mobile device. With that in mind, I was curious what it’s like to perform the same task with other social networks on a mobile device. The following is my experience using WordPress For iOS for this specific task and how it compares to using Facebook and Twitter.

The WordPress For iOS Process

The first thing I do is take a photo with my phone. Next, I load the WordPress For iOS app. I tap the Pencil icon in the lower right corner and make sure to select my WordPress.com account. I give the post a title which is normally related to the image, then write some content. Writing a lot of content on the iPhone is not an ideal experience so I usually keep it short.

Next, I add an image to the post. Selecting a photo from the phone and uploading it to WordPress is an easy task. After the photo is inserted, I head into the Options area. From here, I assign a Category and relevant Tags. I preview the post and if I like what I see, I tap the Publish button.

WordPress For iOS Post Preview
WordPress For iOS Post Preview

While I’m not forced to assign a Category or Tags to posts, it’s a good practice and one I’ve already established with the site.

The Facebook on iOS Process

I open the Facebook app and select Photo. I’m given the choice to either select a photo from the phone’s media library or to take a picture. The ability to use the camera to take a photo for a post is a distinct difference between the Facebook app and WordPress. I usually have an image ready to publish but when I don’t, taking a photo within the app is a nice convenience. After selecting a photo, it’s uploaded to Facebook where I then add context for the image.

With the Facebook app, I can add other data to the post such as location, the people I was with or who are in the photo, and my mood. Most of the time, the additional information doesn’t apply to my photo. After adding some context, I tap the Post button. Boiled down to the simplest procedure, I can publish a photo post on Facebook in five steps.

  1. Open App
  2. Select Photo
  3. Choose or Take Photo
  4. Apply Context
  5. Post

I don’t have to worry about assigning a category or tags to Facebook posts.

The Twitter on iOS Process

I open the Twitter app and tap the button to write a new Tweet. I tap the button to add media and similar to Facebook, I can either choose from the phone’s media library or take a photo. After selecting an image, I add context, then tap the send button. I don’t have to worry about tags or categories.

Not The Simplest, But The Most Future Proof

WordPress For iOS isn’t the simplest way to share photos with the world but it’s the most future proof. It may be more work, but an added benefit to using WordPress.com is its Publicize feature. When a post is published, WordPress.com can send it to both Twitter and Facebook. This is an ideal way to share photos to the widest possible audience while maintaining full control of your content.

Facebook and Twitter are islands where you have no control and the carpet can be pulled out from under you. But at WordPress.com, you have a place to call your own and if you desire, you can pack up your content and leave. This is what the message “Welcome Home” means to me. What does it mean to you?

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7 Comments


  1. I don’t get it. Why “don’t [I] have to worry about WordPress.com shutting down and losing precious content”? How is that risk bigger for FB and Twitter?

    I agree you can easily leave, but data portability is the one and only thing WP.com has over FB and Twitter.

    For all the other benefits, you want your own domain and hosting. (ie. wordpress.org)

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    1. Thanks Dosch. Reviewing the content you pointed out, I’ve revised the post by removing that sentence. No company or service provider is immune from disappearing from existence. Although highly unlikely WordPress.com will be going anywhere any time soon, it’s something everyone using the service should keep in the back of their mind.

      One interesting aspect to this “Home” thing as well is that a common analogy to explain the differences between WordPress.org and WordPress.com is to say that WordPress.com is like an apartment whereas WordPress.org gives you a chance to own a home. You comment fits right in with that analogy.

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  2. One really frustrating thing about recent versions of the iOS app is that it uploads the full size version of the image. A few versions ago, there was a setting for limiting the size of images, which helped reduce bloat on your server. I personally don’t want want or need to upload an 8MP photo: a 1000px wide image will do just fine. I read somewhere that they rewrite some code which meant temporarily removing that feature and they plan to bring it back, but that was many months ago now

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  3. I think this area is ripe for improvement. I find the media management experience on the WP app really frustrating:

    – There’s no “choose from media library”
    – If I want to include an image in a post and set it as featured image I have to upload it twice
    – There’s no “quick image” function, which I’d love.

    I know that the app isn’t given much love by the community and is mostly an Automattic effort, but it really needs to improve this area.

    Pressgram had potential. It’s a shame Jon seemed to have got the model slightly wrong. I’d love a separate app that just takes a photo, uploads it to a new post in WP with a title, caption, tags, categories, and sets it as featured image. This would let you use WP as a photo blog. And with the right OpenGraph meta data you could then post to social networks without giving them the image!

    I’d also like the “Quick post” dashboard widget to have a “quick photo” mode that works in the same way. And yes, this is on my side project list to create!! :)

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  4. WordPress on Android has a Capture photo option for taking pics in the app. Is this really missing on the iPhone?

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    1. Yep. You can only insert a photo from the photo library on the iPhone. You cant take a picture from within the app.

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