Learning more about the new Scrapbook feature on Facebook

Facebook quietly launched a sneaky feature known as Scrapbooks a few months ago.

What exactly does Scrapbook do?

The elevator pitch might be something like this: organise and tag photographs of your kids and pets without creating Facebook accounts for them.

Here’s an introduction to how scrapbooks work in Facebook:

The Scrapbook is basically a photo collection, similar to how Facebook albums look like.

What is different about it, is that the scrapbook is exclusively linked to your child (or pet). You can add an avatar on a scrapbook, and tag your child as usual in other photographs. As far as tagging is concerned, it behaves exactly like another Facebook account.

The concept is elegant, from a photo management perspective. It eliminates the need for a child’s Facebook account to be created for the sake of tagging photos.

One little wrinkle I really like: Facebook automatically creates a shortcut on your Facebook account’s left sidebar, so that you can access the scrapbook easily without wading through an ocean of mouse clicks.

The interface deserves credit too. It’s built in an intuitive manner, designed to ease the initial pain out of scrapbook creation. A nifty point-and-tag system with photo thumbnails (newest uploads first) are shown after the scrapbook is created, allowing you to go wild and tag all your recent photos without clicking through multiple albums.

Tiny little pain points

You might get tired of scrolling after a while though; the scrolling does not load enough new photographs to make it a five-star experience. I managed to tag all the photographs of my daughter taken this year, before the scrolling got a little too arduous. After that, it was back to sifting through the albums I’d created for the kids, tagging them one photo at a time.

Scrapbook obviously has its limitations. For example, only your partner and yourself can upload photos to the scrapbook. That means photos taken by my brother for example, can’t be uploaded directly. Ideally, co-owners should be managed by the parents.

Right now, there are a couple of workarounds:

  1. he has to share the originals through another medium (which I then upload – tedious), or
  2. I have to tag my kid from his upload on a shared album that I am an owner of (also tedious).

It seems like I can’t add tags on an album I do not own, which makes the situation a little messier. Why shouldn’t the tags be allowed on every photograph?

Another sore point for me –not a fault of the scrapbook specifically– is the way videos cannot be organised into the same album/scrapbook as photographs. Logically, these moments should be grouped into the same container. (I’ll write more about this in another article.)

How do I start a scrapbook?

Quoted from product manager Dan Barak’s release on Facebook newsroom:

To start a scrapbook for your child, go to your profile, click on About and click on Family and Relationships. There, you’ll see an invitation to create a scrapbook; just click Get Started. If you’ve already added a child to your profile, you can click Add Scrapbook next to his or her name.

For more details, check out our Help Center.

Have fun trying the scrapbook feature out! It’s definitely making the process of photo management a smoother experience for parents, and I’m sure the kinks will be worked out as this pilot feature progresses.

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