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Getting up and running

Welcome to Blipfoto, the online daily photo journal that is owned and run by its community members. This is not a commercial site. We remain free of advertising thanks to subscriptions - which doesn’t mean you have to pay to use Blipfoto as a journal. That’s entirely up to you.

Click on the following links for more background about us and to learn more of our fascinating history.

If you just want the briefest of introductions then go straight to our quick start guide. You can always return here for more details by clicking on the “Community” link on the main menu bar.

The Joy of Dogs - Cheeryoscuro

What is Blipfoto?

Blipfoto provides a way of building a daily photographic journal. Its central principle is that you can only post one photograph to your journal for each calendar day, a photo that should have been taken on that same day. Most people add a few words too, although some are happy to let the picture speak for itself.

Image: 'Splooshy Morning' by 8

At a time when it can sometimes feel like we’re drowning in images, our own as well those of our friends posting on social media, Blipfoto encourages us to be more thoughtful about our photography. Which one image best represents our day? How that question is answered is different for every member here. We all find our own way of using the site to present a record of our lives.

Image: 'Helter Skelter' by RockArea

It’s not necessary to post every day, although most people do just that. The habit of posting daily can soon become addictive. We have members who have not missed a single day in over ten years.

Image: 'Stow Maries' by LesleyAlsford

If you’ve come here looking for a place to record a ‘365’ project (posting a photograph every day for a year) then look no further. Many of us started our life here in just that way and then kept going. It felt like we had been embraced by an extended family and couldn’t find a way to say goodbye.

For many, Blipfoto is a social network as well as a vehicle for keeping a photo journal. The truth is that each of us makes Blipfoto what we want it to be.

Image: 'Cloudscape' by jukkakos

Getting Started

Your First Look Around

We’re mostly a curious bunch of people here so much of the fascination of Blipfoto is browsing around the site each day to see what other people have been posting. It’s like looking through a few thousand windows upon the whole world. We are represented here by people spread around every continent.

The default view on Blipfoto is a “Browse” view, selectable as the first item in the main black menu bar. A grid of thumbnails is presented that can be scrolled through using the controls at the bottom of the page. Click on any image to visit that journal entry and view in more detail.

A number of options are available at the top of the page:

“Recent” will show the most recently posted entries.

“New Blippers” will show the entries of new members, possibly like yourself. We encourage our membership to visit new journals.

"Milestones" lets you share in the celebrations for members who have reached significant blip days - we love to celebrate!

“Popular” will show those entries posted in the last few days that have gathered the most love from the membership. More of that later.

“Following” will show entries from those journals you’ve expressed an interest in by choosing to follow. More of that later too.

“Me” is your own journal in thumbnail form. It’s a wonderful way to look back through your life.

Your First Blip

To start, just click on "Add New Entry" (located in the main menu bar) and select an image. The EXIF data will automatically be read in order to post the photograph against the correct day. You then have the opportunity to add a caption, some words, and also some tags to make the picture easy to find again in the future.

Click “Publish” and you’ve posted what is called a blip. You’ve blipped. And you have become a blipper in the process. This new vocabulary will roll off your tongue before too long - as well as those of your loved ones. They will be asking if you’ve blipped yet, or will shout up the stairs to find out if you’re blipping when you haven’t turned up at the table for dinner. We soon forget what life was like before blip took over.

Getting Appreciated

(and showing appreciation)

Your First Comment

Having posted your first blip you can expect to get a comment or two. We have to hold our hands up here and admit that the first will probably be an automated one. Much as though we would like to welcome every new member personally, the site has no paid staff and is run on a voluntary basis. We know that using any new service can be rather daunting at first so we enlist the help of technology to offer a few tips and nurture you along a bit. Just pretend it’s a human.

Comments are the lifeblood of Blipfoto. They are what make the site tick as a community. The kind of photographs we each post, along with the words we write, reveal a lot about us as people. Browse around and you are likely to find blippers to whom you can relate in some way. If a particular photograph speaks to you, or if a journal entry resonates in some way, then let that person know. You might also choose to follow them. This is how friendships get started.

Making a comment doesn’t really need any explanation. Just type something into the edit box that you’ll find below most journal entries and click on the “Add Comment” button when you’re done. For some, commenting is an art form in its own right, but don’t be intimidated and keep it simple in the beginning. Your own style will soon evolve. We just ask that you observe the site policy of being excellent. We have come to believe this is one of the very nicest places to hang out on the whole of the internet and we very much want to keep it that way.

If you receive a comment from someone you can easily reply to thank them or begin a conversation. Just click on the little “return arrow” icon to the bottom-right of the comment to display a new edit box and use the “Add Reply” button when done.

If you receive a comment you will see highlighted in red the little “note” icon on the right of the black menu bar. Clicking on that will take you to your comments feed. Here you will see which blip has been commented upon and the name of the blipper involved. You can reply directly from that page if you wish.

Your First Star

Instead of posting a comment it’s possible that someone has shown appreciation of your blip by giving you a star. It’s a simple way to let you know that they like what they’ve seen. You can do the same. You give a star by clicking on the “star” button to the bottom right of the photograph on a journal entry. You have an unlimited supply of stars to give out, although etiquette suggests that they should not be used indiscriminately. It’s a calling card to say you popped by and enjoyed what you saw or what you read.

If someone should give you a star, you will see highlighted in red the little “bell” icon on the right of the black menu bar. Clicking on that will take you to your notifications feed. It is here that you will also get notified about important announcements from the site and news of milestones for your own journal and also those of other journals that you’ve chosen to follow. It’s also here that you will get notified about any hearts you receive.

Confetti Star by DavidC

Your First Heart

Stars are freely available but hearts are a controlled currency on Blipfoto, which makes them special. Because hearts are a scarce commodity it’s a great honour to receive one. We tend to remember our first heart on Blipfoto as a significant moment. It’s a recognition that we’ve posted a photograph or written something that someone has truly appreciated and have been moved to tell us so by bestowing some love.

Paid members have five hearts to grant every day. Ordinary members just get the one. It’s one of the main perks of being a full member. Each heart is renewed twenty-four hours after it has been bestowed. Use your own hearts wisely. There is a nice warm glow to be enjoyed from rewarding a fellow blipper in this way. It’s perhaps best looked upon as an act of random kindness, with no expectation of getting anything back in return. Feel free to sprinkle some love around the site as you see fit.

San Francisco #Day 10 by LouiseMac

Getting Engaged

Following and Followers

You’ve posted a few blips and given a few stars and hearts away. You’ve made a few comments. You’ve probably got some back in return. But it’s all feeling a bit random. It’s like you’ve turned up to a party where everyone seems to know each other and, although they seem friendly enough, you remain a bit of an outsider.

Follow Me! by Duncan

You can get more engaged with the community through following people. Look at any journal entry and to the top left of the photograph you will see the name of the journal and, below that, the username, which is how people get identified when they post comments and stars and hearts. Click on that name and you will be linked through to that blipper’s user profile. You will see where in the world they are from and how many blips they have posted. They may have put up a little about themselves too. Underneath their profile picture is a “Follow” button. Just click on that to follow their journal.

Follow my-Leader by PicturePoems

It’s easy to keep tabs on a journal once you’re following it. Select the “Following” browse view and you’ll see thumbnails of the latest posts of all the journals in which you’ve expressed an interest. Have a look through and if something comes into your head to say, write a comment. If it doesn’t, don’t worry. If it’s a pleasing entry, give them a star to let them know you’ve passed by.

Follow by Arachne

If you choose to follow a journal, don’t necessarily expect that blipper to follow you back. Some will. Some won’t. One you’ve been here a while, and find yourself following a lot of journals, it becomes important to keep the number under control. Each blipper handles the etiquette in their own way. The trouble is that there are a lot of beautiful and interesting journals to be found here.

Follow the leader by captureasecond

Your Profile

Now you’re familiar with the profile page, and how it serves as your homepage on Blipfoto, take a moment to introduce yourself to people here. Although the photographs you choose to blip say a great deal about you, a little bit of context can go a long way towards encouraging people to engage with your journal - should you want. Some prefer to keep a lower profile and maintain a more private presence. It’s entirely up to you.

You can go straight to your profile by clicking on your username in the main black menu bar and selecting “My profile”. You can edit your profile by selecting “Settings” from that same dropdown menu and then “Your profile”. You can also select an image to use as the avatar that will appear on your journal page and other places on the site. It doesn’t need to be a mugshot. It can be anything to symbolise your presence here. Be as creative as you like.

Getting Rewarded

Your First Milestone

Your first milestone comes when you’ve posted ten blips. It may only be a minor milestone in the grand scheme of things but it happens to be a very important one. Most people who find their way here and start a journal never get this far. It’s been said that the first ten blips are the hardest and that’s almost certainly true. You’ve shown some commitment by getting to this point. You’re hopefully enjoying the experience and getting a feel for how the site and the community works. You’re beginning to develop a genuine blip habit.

Your next milestone will be at one hundred blips, then two hundred, three hundred, five hundred and a thousand. Posting a thousand blips is a major event and is often celebrated in a big way. Your followers will get notified whenever you reach a milestone and blippers will often do something special in expectation of getting a large number of visits to their journal for that day. It’s become one of our fun traditions. It may seem like a ridiculously long way off at this point but all of us who have been there can testify as to just how quickly it happens!

Badges

As you pass certain milestones you will earn specific camera badges. Depending on the number of blips you’ve posted, you get to wear a different colour camera badge. It gets displayed against your username whenever you make a comment. It’s an easy way to tell whether someone is a newbie or an oldie. Those of us who have been here for a while wear our badges with great pride and getting a new colour becomes something special. The most sought after is the red one for posting ten years of blips. That’s a lot of life to have recorded day by day.

You can see a guide to all the colours opposite, or just click on the camera icon, wherever you see one.

Your First Anniversary

Your first anniversary on Blipfoto is a special day. Ideally, it will mark the completion of a ‘365’ project, the posting of a photograph every day for a whole year. If you get there, even if you intended to stop at that point, you will likely find it far easier to carry on than to finish. Good habits are hard to break. We hope you continue. There is no good reason to stop, although some people choose at this juncture to no longer post every single day. You will find what works best for you.

365! by audioengineear

Like other milestones, your followers will get alerted to your blip birthday so it’s custom to make a special effort on such days. It’s an opportunity to get creative. Go join in the tradition.

The site has a number of quirks, one of which is that yearly anniversaries are celebrated after a year’s worth of blips, regardless of whether there are gaps or not. Your blip birthday will not necessarily fall on the same day every year. It’s a milestone irrespective of it being a continuous run. That’s because we’re nice people and we like any chance to celebrate. If it’s only important if it’s important to you.

365 by DavidKeith

Getting Involved

The Community

You’ve decided that you’re enjoying the experience here and want to get more involved with the community. Your first port of call is the “Community” page where you’ll find a number of links. Going clockwise ...

Top left is a link to the Blip Central Blog, a journal reserved for official business. It’s perhaps not the most exciting journal here but you should check in to keep abreast of what’s happening on the site. We usually send you a notification if it’s something important or unmissable, like a riveting change in our terms and conditions!

Top right is a link to the Blip Community Blog, a journal about the community, reporting on all kinds of things. It’s worth flipping back through to read about other blippers and things like useful photography tips. Here you will find posted a number of regular challenges too.

Bottom right is a link to a forum where you can look at other unofficial challenges, hosted by individual blippers. You can also look to check to see if there are any meetups happening in your area. We have a long tradition here of getting together in physical space as well as virtual space. They are traditionally called blip meets. It’s invariably the case that blippers are just as nice in person as they appear through their journals.

Bottom left is a link to where you can find out even more about us than is available here. Perhaps for another time. If you’ve been reading this guide from the beginning then you’re probably exhausted and need a lie down!

Reporting Problems

Your first port of call is our help page. This can be accessed from the link in the footer bar used throughout the site. Just scroll to the bottom of any page to find it. This is where you can also find a link to the terms of use for the site. It would be right and proper to suggest you have a quick look at those - although we won't be checking.

Clicking on "Help" will give you three further options. ….

Can you solve my problems? by Hefafa

Reaching out for help

If you have a question then select "Check our FAQs". For most queries about the site it's more than likely that you'll find the answer here.

The second option is to access this handy guide.

Finally, as a last resort, you can contact the support team directly. We say 'last resort' because the support desk is manned by a very small team of volunteers, working in their spare time. Try to use this guide, the FAQs, or the community itself, before raising a support request. Click on "Ask us" and enter a description of your problem in the form provided.

It cannot be emphasised enough how important it is to provide as much detail as possible. Explain the steps you've gone through, provide any error messages you've received, along with the exact device, operating system or app you're using. This will help enormously to track down the problem and give you the help you need. As you now well understand, the site is run by volunteers so we may not be able to get back to you right away. Please be patient and we'll be in touch as soon as we can. And a little tip: it helps to be polite.

On our FAQ section there is information for new members (getting Started) and well as answers to commonly asked questions (FAQs). The Established User Support was originally provided for the changes made to the site a few years ago but we've left it there in case any of the answers help.

Please check these sections first before submitting a help request, you'll more than likely find the answer there as we regularly update the answers based on support requests.

There will be times when you need specialist help. Ask us is where you'll find access to the helpdesk. It really helps us to help you if you provide as much information as possible. Explaining the steps you've gone through; any error messages you've received and the device, software or app you've been using all help to track down what has gone wrong.

As we've said the site is run by volunteers so we may not be able to get back to you straight away. Please be patient and we'll be in touch as soon as we can.

Reporting an Entry

There may come a time when you come across an entry that doesn't fit with our rules of being excellent! If this should happen you can bring it to the attention of our moderation team (again volunteers) by clicking on the 'More Info' link on the entry's page. Along with other icons you will see a "report' button. This will take you to a page where you can indicate your reason for reporting the entry and also add a few words of explanation, if needed.

Once submitted it will be sent to the team for review and any action. That's it!

Getting Clever

Searching your archive

After a while the usefulness of Blipfoto as an archive of your life begins to become apparent. It can often be useful to quickly find an entry from the past. You might want to remind yourself of a holiday or a visit, or work out which day something happened on. The ease with which this can be done is very much dependent on the care you took with the title, the text and the tagging of the blip concerned.

The text searching of your own Blipfoto journal is very powerful so it’s worth bearing this in mind when you write up your journal. The very best way to ensure that an entry can be easily found is to use consistent and meaningful tags.

Tags are entered in the edit box below the one where you add your journal text. The best way to understand is to see how other people use them. Scroll down to the top of the comments on any blip and it is likely you’ll see a few tags. Clicking on the tag label will perform a search on that term and retrieve any other blips tagged in the same way. You’ll soon get the idea. Separate each tag with a comma and be aware that spaces will be removed.

154/365 by ClaireVoyle

Searching is done using the little search window in the black menu bar, to the left of where your notifications appear. Typing in just a word will do a search on the text of all journal entries, giving extra weighting to entries where that word has appeared in the title. Because of the millions of blips in the database, a simple word search will likely just return blips which have that word in the title. It’s a very quick and dirty search but if you suddenly get an urge to see a picture of a particular something, like an albatross, say, it can be very effective.

Searching on tags offers a more refined way of searching, but is dependent on blips being appropriately tagged. In this case, type “tagged albatross” into the search window, or “#albatross” for short. You will now get a smaller and more focussed result set.

The Luggage Tags #1 by Gillipaw

To limit the search to just your own blips, append “by me” or “@me” to the search term. Provided you’ve constructed good titles and entered some useful text description, this will gain you quick access to every blip you’ve ever posted. Once you’ve been here a few years, that can be immensely useful.

Be aware that the text search will include usernames as well as the text of the entry. As with any search function, the more specific you can be the better. No one wants to have to trawl through hundreds of possible results. Above all have a play and you will discover its power.

Hashtag(tag?) by Robgroucott

Using the Calendar

Just as we can use our blip archive to return to a day we’ve forgotten, we can also quickly go to any day and find out what we were doing then. At the top of your blip entry, just to the right of the date, is a calendar icon. Click on that and you have chronological access to your whole journal. You can scroll back month by month, or click on the month or the year in the caption to go directly to any selected period.

Once you’ve been here a year, another icon will magically appear to the right of the calendar one. This is the “One year ago” feature where you can immediately see where you were and what you were doing exactly a year ago.

Crazy by SooB

Tapping into Blip Wisdom

There is a lot of knowledge now wrapped up in Blipfoto and if you’re clever, using some of the techniques described here, you can tap into it. Perhaps you’re about to visit somewhere on holiday. Search to see who else has been and what they saw. You might possibly want to leave a comment and ask for some tips. Blippers are a friendly bunch. We’re generally willing to help each other out with information here.

Social Networking

We do not market our service here in any way. Just as we are free of advertising, we also do not advertise (other than through our social media pages). We spend our budget on maintaining the site and making what improvements we can. Now, that is not to say that we don’t want new members. We very much want and need new members.

In its early days this happened mostly through word of mouth and that is still the case to a large extent - except that word of mouth now embraces Facebook and Twitter. Many people come to us through seeing a friend’s post on some other social media service.

We therefore encourage you to post your blips out to the wider world. It’s possible to post your blips to Facebook and Twitter. It’s one of the best ways of spreading the word.

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