4 Tools for Sharing Photos and Files Other Than Facebook

Sure, it's fun and easy to send every little thing to Facebook, but then it's kind of stuck on Facebook. And what if Grandma and Grandpa don't want to use all that social media stuff and what about Auntie in China who can't log in?

Sharing big files with family members has traditionally been fairly difficult. Most email servers won't take files over 25MB, and services like Facebook and Twitter are great for posting a shot of the wee ones covered in chocolate syrup after Sundae Night but aren't so great at offering a general "dump" for important files and media.

Here are some cool tricks you can use to share almost anything with anyone in a few simple steps.


Sharing Photos

Forget Flickr. The easiest way to send your folks a packet of photos is to use a service like Posterous. Posterous accepts uploads via the browser and, more importantly, via email. All you have to do is send a few photos to your Posterous address and they appear immediately on the site. You can even lock down your profile so only friends and family can see it, ensuring privacy in a world where privacy has gone out the window.

Posterous supports something called Spaces, a dedicated spot for you and the people you invite. Others can upload photos and make comments, and your parents can subscribe to your updates via email.

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Sharing a Bunch of Files

If you need a quick and easy way to dump a bunch of files into someone's lap -- tax documents or movies, say -- try LetsCrate.com. The service is a drag-and-drop system that stores your file for a few weeks. You receive a link (it looks like this: http://lts.cr/Iei) that you can send via email, instant message, or text. You can delete files after you've uploaded them.

Working Together

If you and the in-laws are planning an event and need a spot to share everything you all collect -- contracts, photos, samples -- try Dropbox. The free service gives you access to a folder on your computer that syncs automatically with everyone you invite. The service keeps updated copies of every file, ensuring that no one can overwrite or ruin the folder. Dropbox now also supports picture uploading straight from your camera or memory card. It will grab your photos and put them into a special, web-accessible box so folks can pop over and see your vacation pictures hot off the press.

SugarSync is another service that creates a "Magic Briefcase" on all your computers. You can dump files into the briefcase and they will appear everywhere in seconds.

These tools are useful for almost anything, from sharing schedules with the little league team to building a scrapbook ("Subject: Hey, family, let's embarrass Mom and Dad for their 50th anniversary. Dump funny stories and pictures here!"). We use services like Dropbox to share our tax forms with the accountant and send big videos to the folks back home.

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None of these sites require a master's degree in CS to operate, and all of them will become more useful the more familiar you become with them, especially when your Dropbox fills up with pictures of Mom falling into the pool and videos of Dad backing the car into the bushes.

What sites do you use to share photos and files?


Images via Valerie Reneé, Posterous, and Dropbox

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