This article was published on October 25, 2011

Hipster leaves digital breadcrumbs with postcard style check-ins

Hipster leaves digital breadcrumbs with postcard style check-ins
Drew Olanoff
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Drew Olanoff

Drew Olanoff was The Next Web's West Coast Editor. He coined the phrase "Social Good" and invented the "donation by action" model for onlin Drew Olanoff was The Next Web's West Coast Editor. He coined the phrase "Social Good" and invented the "donation by action" model for online charitable movements. He founded #BlameDrewsCancer. You can follow him on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, or email [email protected]

In the search to find more things to do with photos, Hipster gives us an app for iOS that urges us to send digital “postcards” to memorialize a moment or event.

Whereas photo sharing site Instagram focuses more on the photos themselves, Hipster relies on geolocation to add the extra something. The app is beautifully designed, and could very well spark the imagination of travelers everywhere.

Hipster has a gorgeous website to view postcards, which is a nice compliment to the app. More and more app developers are realizing that with a solid browser-based presence, the interest in an app can increase dramatically. Instagram was the first app that realized this with its landing pages for photos which promotes downloads with a direct link to the app store.

Sending a postcard

Rather than “checking in” from where you are, Hipster thinks a stylish postcard left at a location is more social. Personally, I feel like check-ins are something I collect, but don’t have a lot of personality in and of themselves. Hipster has done a really nice job bringing a concept to life with a real-world tangible item like a postcard.

Whenever you want to send a postcard, simply take a picture and choose its style.

The app asks you who you’re with and what you’re doing, to give the postcard some context. If your friends are using Hipster too, they will be notified when you attach them to a postcard.

The concept of checking in isn’t new, but the idea of sending out your location as a postcard is a nice nuance.

Social postcards

As you’d expect, Hipster would like to transform into a social network of people taking and sharing postcards all over the world. The likes and comments are recorded for the postcards, but so is the total number of views which really gives context to whether something is popular or not. You can post your postcards to Facebook and Twitter, and view a stream of latest postcards.

This is where location comes in. You can check “nearby” postcards to discover people, places, and things with more context than a check-in. For example, someone in my apartment complex took a photo from the roof and added the phrase “going basejumping” to the back of the postcard. I sincerely doubt that he basejumped off of our apartment roof, but it was a form of expression through postcard that is actually quite entertaining.

Building any type of social network is difficult, even a niche one. It’s going to take a large network effect for a new service to catch on. However, we’re going through a period of innovation where companies are digging in deep to find the neat little nuances that can attract a following. Instagram nailed it with filters, foursquare nailed it with mayors, and I really think Hipster nails it with the digital postcard concept.

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