Reviewed June 2015
Thomas Weeks, Reference and Instruction Librarian, Liaison to Department of Art
Reese Library, Georgia Regents University
Pictify is a free social media platform developed for museums, artists, and art lovers to build, curate and share online art collections. According to their website, “you can curate your own collections of art, make albums of your favourite paintings, photographs, sculptures and so on, and you can share your albums with your Pictify friends and followers.” Pictify attempts to bring the functionality of other social sharing sites an art focus, using similar design and familiar layouts. However, the site’s limited functionality makes its initial promise in actuality disappointing.
Pictify most resembles Pinterest in both layout and functionality, borrowing an easy-to-navigate interface, clean colors, clear labeling, and continuous feed scrolling. The home screen can be customized to feed specific content, such as a particular kind of art or content only from galleries and museums. This can be useful to look for particular types of work, or to network with art galleries and museums.
While the idea of a free social media platform for art is praiseworthy for its egalitarian spirit, in reality
the lack of limits on accounts and posts make advertisements and spam readily encountered on this site. Furthermore, the lack of metadata control makes it so that if the uploader fails to describe the work in any way (such as the example pictured at right, which essentially is a filename), the artwork is all but unfindable. Browsing and discoverability also lacks the underlying structure to make these activities rewarding: Pictify only allows for browsing works from the same user or from the same broad category (such as Painting). If you are looking for works with a similar style or by the same artist, there are few options to help you.
Lacking the robust structure and metadata that would make this a viable place to search for images, the next use case for Pictify would be as a social networking tool to connect with art museums, galleries, and art aficionados. To learn more about other users, each user page has an “About” section, as well as a header with counter information, such as how many followers and how many artworks they have posted. For a museum or gallery, some of the metrics could be useful to measure how many people are following their feeds. Following particular users can allow for you to customize your home and receive feeds with only followed artists.
For an account holder, there are not many customization or defining features options. You can create albums or have the works displayed alone, b
ut unlike other platforms there are relatively few organizational options. The inclusion of many large museums and galleries posting collections is perhaps a major draw to Pictify, but even that has not been sustained: many of the museums and galleries have not posted new works since 2012.
In sum, Pictify does provide a space to curate art-specific digital collections; however, it is not robust enough to compete with similar platforms such as Pinterest that, while not art-specific, have thriving art communities, offer more robust options in both discoverability and organization, and reach a wider audience.