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An App Startup Story

Native Social Networking and v2.0



I’ve been thinking about this long and hard and it’s a bit complex to encapsulate in a single blog post, but I’m going to try to get the meat and bones of the idea down here on paper and answer questions that you might have as we move forward.

I’ve shared a few thoughts via the video above and I’m going to try to simplify it here for you for those that may not actually view the video.

Simply put, I’ll be removing the social layer of the Pressgram app in version 2.0 and instead moving towards a more concentrated and powerful publishing system.

In other words, we will no longer have the ability to follow other users inside the app and instead focus on building communities through our own and more importantly your own social network where it already resides.

It was a very tough decision but it simply comes down to these few thoughts:

  1. Another Social Network? I’ve asked myself a ton of times whether or not we really need another social network and the answer is clear – we do not. Every user has a vibrant social community on other sites and most importantly their own blog and that is where we should concentrate our efforts. Personally, I don’t need another one, since my concentrated efforts are around my own blog.
  2. Publishing First. We have stated clearly from the very beginning that we are a publishing application first, a social networking (and all that other stuff) second. This move towards a pure publishing utility will help us focus and iterate on our growing and proven community, and strike at the heart of who we are as digital publishers. We can never push too hard to become our mission and vision.
  3. A Better App. Consequently, my efforts on the technical end will become much better dealing less with the cloud-based challenges of growth and scale, as well as the technical bridges between the app itself and your hosted blogging solution. Issues of privacy, control, ownership, and security will all level-up significantly as well.
  4. Cost Reduced. Building a sustainable model from a business perspective is really tough and the costs month-over-month are growing at a break-neck speed. This will help minimize the organization’s cost so that focus on better features and a richer experience becomes available.

These are just a few of the reasons why we’re moving in this direction. I have a tentative date in March to release, so you can start thinking about the move and prepare. It’s been a privilege and honor to see some of our users use Pressgram as their defacto community and I hope they can move their efforts to their own dedicated system in the coming weeks and months. Naturally, we are here to help (and this tutorial might help as well!).

Let us know if you have any questions and we’ll keep this ball rolling. I love what we’ve built and I’m not about to quit – I think we’ve got the genesis of something fantastic and I’ve learned a ton over the last year about what it takes to make something like this really, really work.


  1. sad to see it go, but pumped for our future!

  2. A difficult decision, but a decision that does go along with the mission of the app – to publish photos directly to WordPress (without anything getting in the way). Looking forward to 2.0!

  3. I think this is the right direction. If I really wanted a photo-based social network, I would go to other services. But I love Pressgram for how it helps build my own personal platform.

    I’m really eager to see what comes from this!

  4. Totally good with me. Seems to make sense with the original purpose and I thought the social networking piece of Pressgram was a little bit funky anyway.

    Glad to see the change!

  5. It’s best to focus on the apps strength. The community is already there to support that. Great move. I like simple.

  6. Wow! Thanks for sharing your vision and direction for Pressgram 2.0. That’s quite a shift, but completely understandable. A business needs to be sound to survive. I love that you and Pressgram respect photographer’s rights of copyright ownership (unlike other major social networking and sharing site) and the whole “discovery” piece. The discovery portion of Pressgram and driving web traffic to my WordPress website is an important factor for me and I am sure most of your others users. How do you envision that a Pressgram users will continue to increase awareness and discovery by others of their inspiring work and blogs? Do you envision a posting feature from within the Pressgram 2.0 app to existing major social networks that continue to drive traffic directly to a user’s WordPress site? I would love to hear your thoughts.

  7. Hmmm, I posted a comment shortly after this was posted but it appears Disqus made it disappear… lol.

    When I first learned of this change I was initially saddened as I enjoy the community and especially enjoy the Feed and Explorer section of the application. But it didn’t take long to realize, I WASN’T using this as a true social network. Yes, I would “Like” peoples photos, and on occassion would have brief conversations, but really, I was looking at the photos on a small screen and enjoying that.

    In reality, this was supposed to be a publishing tool and coupled with a fantastic community. We have this already on the existing social networks like Google+ and Twitter along with the amazing work posted over on I love viewing the work people have posted, but love it even more when I view it in a setting of their choosing such as their blog.

    Of course money and time are an issue with the social network. Both of these things were getting sucked into a secondary feature of the app. The removal the social piece, is actually a liberating happening that gives me much hope for the future.

  8. I am joining this conversation a bit late….. I too will be sad to see this feature go… but when you think about it does make sense…. I am also excited to hear what other blogging platforms are planned…. I am just playing about with a Ghost blog at the moment and if this was a planned integrated that would be super sweet :)

  9. tough call but I do agree that ultiamtely it helps more focus on publishing… nice on John

  10. I’m confused. The social stuff is being removed and replaced by and as yet to be developed publishing app? Isn’t this the same as using the WordPress app or a tumblr clone? I’d like more clarity given I’m about to start teaching a free series at the local library on pressgram. I’d rather not look like an idiot talking about features that won’t exist.

  11. First and foremost I think you’re completely right to make this move, John. As you so said, the costs alone are astronomical in these business situations and the nature of Pressgram suggests it’s best to just move forward as a publishing platform. I’m really looking forward to see how you do that, and if nothing else I’m grateful for the community you’ve helped to craft, there’s some really great and friendly minds here.

    Wishing you every success.

  12. Maybe I’m missing something, but without the social layer, what’s the difference between posting on Pressgram and posting directly on WordPress?

  13. Hey Jon… thanks for the video and write up on this…

    Like a lot of folks have said, I’ll miss the social aspect inside of pressgram, but as I look at it a bit I do think cutting that part out does keep the app more focused on original intent – publishing great content.

    Props for making a tough decision! Looking forwards to the future of pressgram.

  14. Great decision. Lots of other places to go if I want to browse/follow others pic streams. Original premise of streamlining the publishing of a photo to one’s own WP blog and then sharing out the blog link in a rich way – such that you still bring traffic home (home run) (and much improved over the WP IOS app) Very clear reasoning and looks like it will keep you on point. ~~ Would also love to see IOS bufferapp integration option as well – would give users some additional capacity to easily queue up posts and/or hit multi accounts a bit easier.

  15. John,

    Glad you’re removing the the social network and will be improving security with version 2.0 – I’m particurlarly interested in (and even willing to pay for an app fee) direct interaction (not relayed) between Pressgram and my WordPress sites alongside support for more better secure protocols like TLS 1.1-1.2

    Looking forward to these changes!

    Best regards,

    Steve Caturan

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