ThisMoment is a new media-sharing site (see our previous coverage) which lets you post photos and videos in a slideshow format while also sharing them across the web to sites like Facebook and Twitter. Part microblog, part social network, and part sharing platform, thisMoment's goal goes beyond simply providing a place to store and share your media. In other words, it's not just a Twitter clone with pictures. Instead, this beautifully crafted site is designed to allow you to share media that has meaning to you - the special moments that will in turn create a "digital reflection" of your life.
Getting Started: the Moment Maker
Using a tool called the Moment Maker, you create each "Moment" (as the shared media is called) by adding notes, assigning an emotion, adding the date, location, and the names of the people who were in the moment, in addition to the media itself. You can choose to add the photos and videos either from your computer, from publicly shared content on the web via a search tool, or from your own accounts at various online services including flickr, YouTube, Facebook, and Picasa.
A Few Stumbles
The Moment Maker tool is relatively easy to use, but could use a little simplification. For example, the first time you go to use flickr, the service needs to authorize your account. Although you're in the middle of "moment creation," thisMoment doesn't perform the authorization using a separate tab or pop-up window. Instead, you're forced to save the moment as a draft, head to your preferences, and authorize flickr from there. Had I known that I'd have to drop what I was doing to configure these settings, I would have headed to my preferences first, then created my Moment. Even better, some sort of walkthrough or prompt to set up your associated services in the beginning would have been useful. UPDATE: The company tells me that you won't see a prompt to link your services if you log in via Facebook Connect from a "moment" page, which, of course, is what I did. You might do the same, so I stand by my assertion that this process needs to be easier. Even the prompt you're supposed to see isn't as obvious as the link to "add a moment" at the top of the screen.
Another slight drawback was the search feature once connected to my flickr account. Although a search box is displayed, entering in a query returned photos that were clearly not mine, but pulled from the public stream. Considering that flickr Pro users like myself probably have hundreds of photos (or thousands!) to sift through, being able to search your own images is a critically important feature. There is a way to search your own images, but it's odd that it wouldn't be the default setting. Instead you have to click the link that says search images "from me" to find your own photos. I didn't even see this option the first time I used it!
Still, when you get through the challenges of locating your content, the end result is an attractive, side-scrolling slideshow of photos and videos which you browse through using the site's timeline feature. These slideshows can be set to public or private as you choose.
If simple slideshow creation was all the site did, it would probably languish in obscurity since it's already somewhat competing with other photo slideshow creation tools like flickr and Slide. The addition of video and an attractive UI would only take thisMoment so far.
However, the beauty of thisMoment is that it lets you push the content out across the web. After creating a moment, you have the option to post it to Facebook and/or Twitter or email it to friends. Thanks to thisMoment's integration with these social web services, it also automatically identified certain contacts of mine already using the site and allowed me to select them from a list of "my connections" instead of having to type in email addresses.
Another change since the service was in private beta is that it now allows you to access embed codes for publicly shared moments and you can promote them on social sites like Digg, MySpace, StumbleUpon, Delicious, Reddit, and others through a "share" widget located at the bottom of the slideshow.
At launch time, thisMoment announced content licensing agreements with The New York Times, the Time Inc. Lifestyle Group and Road & Track. These companies will offer branded versions of thisMoment called "Momentos." Surprisingly, these moments weren't featured on the company's homepage nor were they easily accessible via site navigation or search. That's an odd choice - you would think that if they have access to premium content, they would find a way to highlight it better.