When it comes to content discovery I’ve been relying on apps like Flipboard, Pulse, and Currents. Currents is especially effective since it commands a large and diverse selection of content and has become my go-to app for casual browsing of architecture, design, and photography streams. At least once a day I come across a piece of content that I’d like to share* but Currents is not really share-friendly which utterly perplexes me.

For example, today I saw a beautiful photo** of the Battersea power station: an iconic image for me on so many levels.

So naturally I wanted to post it to my Twitter feed – the app contains a Twitter icon that summons up the ‘compose tweet’ view as well as other options for sharing (WhatsApp, email, Dropbox, etc). What I want to share is the image featuring some basic information on the photographer (something does show up in the bubble across the photo: by default the bubble is hidden and when expanded like in the screenshot it really doesn’t contain a lot; I can see the photographer’s name but not his other works and it’s hit or miss whether information on where the photo was taken shows up or not). A link shortening service like Bitly immediately comes to mind as the ideal choice here. Instead, Currents users get a link like this: https://www.google.com/producer/editions/CAow26UB/500px/CAIiEErq-XQh3XaJLwFlGjO9_HsqFQgEKg0IACoGCAow26UBMPBEMMD7CQ/industrial_world__reloaded_

Visually here’s what that looks like on screen:

That’s a gnarly-looking URL and there’s really nothing elegant about it.

A better choice would be to:

– Use a branded link shortener like Bitly; all URLs coming from the Currents app would share the same base URL (e.g. curren.ts/#####). The extra benefit to the content owner is the analytics on how their content is shared (this functionality is standard with Bitly). To the end user the URL looks friendlier and more memorable.

– Pass on image title, photographer’s name, and (ideally) Twitter handle.***  The meta information can of course be editable in the tweet but it would provide more relevant context to the person who’s sharing at the time of sharing.

Since sharing from Currents is so clunky today I’ve become anti-share on a lot of truly top-notch content. I found a silly workaround: take a screenshot and then post the screenshot (much easier and less messy) but this still doesn’t guarantee that I’ll have the desired info on author, location, title/name, etc.

Is there a better hack?

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* By share I really bookmark, since that’s how I mainly use Twitter today. 

** It’s worth noting that even though Currents contains many different content screams the sharing experience appears to be consistently awkward. When sharing photos the screenshot workaround is semi-acceptable but sharing a link to a magazine story entails exactly the same gnarly URL and no other meta information. 

*** This is tailored for sharing on Twitter.