December 6, 2013
Image-sharing site Imgur wants to create a more TV-like experience. Creator Alan Schaaf believes the site can step in where TV leaves off to provide mindless (in a good way), easy-to-consume entertainment. The site’s biggest appeal is its ease of image uploading, sharing and commenting. Consuming is just as easy to do, and Schaaf thinks it’s equally as enjoyable as TV. Imgur launched a chat feature last month and is shifting from image host to a social community and public destination.
Schaaf tells The Atlantic that for a lot of people, relaxing at night means sitting on the couch and flipping through TV stations. “They aren’t necessarily looking for something specific to watch,” he says. “They just want to unwind from their day and be entertained.”
Imgur functions in the same way. “That same sort of sit-back-and-relax-and-be-entertained feeling is what we’re going for,” Schaaf says. And though appointment TV may be declining, The Atlantic notes that Imgur’s creator thinks the site can “step in where TV is leaving off to provide diversion that is mindless in the best way possible.”
“The whole thing started with a picture,” The Atlantic says. “Images, Schaaf points out, are not necessarily the same thing as photos.” The definition of “image” can include GIFs, drawings, screenshots and more.
“That distinction matters not only for images as cultural objects, but also for images as media products: They require a different functionality, and a different infrastructure, from what still photos require,” explains the article.
And Schaaf wanted images of all kinds to be as simple as possible to upload and share. “I actually tried to reduce the number of clicks it took before your final image was online,” said Schaaf. “I think it was, like, two clicks.”
That goal of simplicity paid off in the site’s success, and now, Imgur “wants to take all those puppies and pizzas and people and memes — the images that help give form to the Internet — and gather them in one place: your screen,” notes the article.