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Web services and software for creating family albums and scrapbooks

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  1. Wanted: Social media scrapbook service
  2. Feature set for a social media scrapbook
  3. Web services and software for creating family albums and scrapbooks
I’ve been writing about my wish for a family scrapbook solution that would create photobooks that use tweets as captions, and I’ve described the features I’d like. Fuelled mostly by incredulity (surely something like this must exist) I’ve worked my way through lots of options.
  • Commercial album creation services from Shutterfly, Apple, Lulu, Qoop, Scrapblog and many others typically offer the option of importing photos from Flickr and Facebook, and often from Picasa and iPhoto. But I tried out an epic number of these services and couldn’t find a single one that integrated Twitter or generic RSS feeds. Of course, I could type tweets in manually….but that requires comparing two sets of timelines (photos and tweets).
  • On the other side of the equation, TweetBookz creates books of your tweets. But no photos!
  • Bee Docs Timeline 3D creates beautiful timelines for presentations and can import Flickr photo sets, Twitter feeds (using the RSS import option) or iPhoto galleries and use those to automatically generate a gorgeous timeline. But you have to choose EITHER a photo import or an RSS import, so there is no way to integrate the two. And while you can export a timeline to Keynote or Quicktime, it’s not really set up for either web or print publishing.
  • Blurb is a photobook creation service that offers blog-based photo books. Unfortunately they only support a handful of blogging services, and while this includes WordPress.com, you can’t install Lifestream or other aggregation tools on WordPress.com (only on self-hosted WordPress); if you add tweets to a WordPress.com site using a widget, that doesn’t get pulled into Blurb. If Blurb supported Twitter the way it supports hosted blogs, it could be the right tool, though it might not integrated tweets with photos into a coherent timeline.
  • Blog2Print has the same limitation as Blurb: it’s limited to printing blogs on WordPress.com, Typepad and Blogger.
  • iPhoto2Twitter (http://www.bluecrowbar.com/software/iphoto2twitter/) lets you tweet photos from within iPhoto, but it doesn’t pull in your tweets TO iPhoto.
  • Pixable is set up to create photobooks from Facebook and promotes itself by pointing out how with other methods you miss out on much of the content on Facebook that can complement the printed photos : tags, captions, quotes, messages on your wall, status updates, and comments left by friends”. But the FAQ <http://www.pixable.com/faq/> notes that “Pixable currently allows you to import tagging information, profile pictures, captions, album titles and, of course, photos of you and your friends. In the future, you will be able to print comments, favorite quotes, status updates, wall messages and more.” I’ll be happy to see that when it arrives — figuring I can use Facebook to import my tweets and Flickr or iPhoto shots — but feel a bit put-off by the gap between the promotional materials and the current feature set.

At this point I’ve concluded that my best bet is to roll my own WordPress site using aggregation via FeedWordPress, which I’ve now been devoted to for five years — one of my most enduring tech relationships! Then I will periodically use WordPress export to export my blog to WordPress.com, and suck my WordPress.com site into Blurb for printing. Results to be reported….unless some fabulous developer creates my dream service before then.

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First posted on January 16,2010

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