With all of the apprehension surrounding the changes to Instagram, the timing for August's emergence couldn't be any better. While browsing Facebook the other day, I came across a post from a friend announcing that he had made a new profile on a new content-sharing social media platform. For a split second, I thought about scrolling past and ignoring it, because... who really needs *more* social media in their lives? But I'm glad that I gave it a few more moments of thought and downloaded it to see for myself.
What is August?
August is a content sharing app, currently on iOS devices, that offers a little more capability than Instagram currently does. It's kind of like Instagram, meets Tumblr, meets Pinterest, meets SoundCloud, meets Vimeo. That sounds like it might be a little convoluted, but it's not. It seems like it's mostly aimed at artists (of various sorts), but still offers some cool options for the everyday user.
While it is visually heavy, it also supports musical artists, video artists, and writers, in addition to photographers. Photos can be uploaded directly from a mobile device, however, as of right now, music, written content (aside from a small note or caption), and video need to be submitted via the August website.
August App Features
When you first sign up for an August account, you immediately have access to 3 tabs on your profile: Stories, Activity, and Collections. As an artist, you also get a Portfolio tab, but I'll touch on that more in a bit.
The Stories tab offers a unique content sharing option, different from Instagram, in that you can organize your images into relevant groupings... STORIES... if you will. It's very much like a microblog. When you start a new story, you choose a cover image for that story. You can leave that image as it's own story, but ideally you would add more content to that story. Stories have a "Follow" button attached to each of them, to enable your followers to decide which of your stories they would like to receive update notifications for. Each time you add content to a story, a notification is sent out to those who have actively chosen to follow that story.
I have seen stories used to publish "About Me" type narratives, to make continuous updates to a trip, event, or an ongoing project, to categorize and display certain genres of work, or to simply describe and share different facets of someone's life.
Stories can be "liked" by your followers, commented on, and when updated, will be pushed towards the top of the "Explore Stories" tab on the Discover page.
Moving on to the Activity tab, it does exactly what it sounds like. It keeps track of your interactions with other content within August. Then there is the Collections tab, where you can save and organize content from other artists that you enjoy.
Being An Artist on August
To be an artist on August, you have to apply for an artist code by submitting 5 of your best works to be published with August. Once you've received your artist code, you can activate it and convert your account over from a standard account to an artist account. You know when you're looking at an artist account, because of two distinguishing factors: They have a portfolio tab, and there is a letter "a" badge attached to their profile picture.
Posting content to your portfolio on August allows your followers to re-share it (much like they would on Tumblr), for their followers to see in their feeds. People can also choose at add your content to their Collections, and comment on your content. Every time you publish a new portfolio piece, it is also displayed at the top of the "Explore Portfolio" tab on the Discover page.
Discovering New Content
As with most social apps, there is a Discover tab within August that lets you find new content and new people to follow. There is a section for Featured Artists, and well as two tabs to explore Portfolios or explore Stories, which are updated in real-time as users upload content. And with those options, there is also a search bar, where you can search for People, Content, Stories, Hashtags, etc.
My Overall Thoughts on August
In general, I really like August so far. It's seems like it's still a very new app, so there are some kinks to work out here and there, but the overall user experience is enjoyable. There is also some repeating of content in my feed, but that again, can be attributed to it being a newer app with a smaller user base than some other, more established apps already have.
I think what I love most about August though, is the idea of being able to share more of a process behind what it is that I'm doing, or why I created what I did, or how I created it, by using stories to share those things with my followers. I also love the excitement that the user base seems to currently have surrounding the app, and interacting and sharing others' content. It's also refreshing to share content on an app without the pressure of "getting it just right", like there might be with social media platforms like Instagram. August is new so there aren't any hard-fast "unwritten rules" yet, which is nice. I'm sure that will come with time, assuming that August continues to gain traction, but for now, it's refreshing to be able to experiment with the type of content you want to share, and how and when you choose to share it.
Explore August With Me!
If you'd like to check out August for yourself, feel free to check out there site at www.agst.co, or just head straight over to the app store on your iOS device (sorry Android users. I'm sure your time will come soon), and download it from there.
And of course, once you're there, you'll want to find and follow me, so I can follow you back! Just search for "Emily McGonigle" in the Discover tab and you should find me pretty easily. ;)
In all seriousness though, I hope you'll give August a try, and I'd love to know what you think about it (and I'm not at all affiliated with the app -- I'm just a user who really likes it and wants to share its existence with others). Who knows if it'll last, if it'll take off, or if it'll just coast by for a while, but I'm willing to keep playing with it for a while to find out if it sticks. I genuinely enjoy using it, so it's not too much of a burden to roll with it for a bit anyway. ^_^