What Are Smart Screenshots?
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes
What are Smart Screenshots?
Everyone has heard of screenshots. You probably use them multiple times on a daily basis, whether it’s for work or as a simple way to share something on your phone via text or social media.
Sometimes referred to as screencaps, screen captures, or screengrabs, screenshots are essentially an image that shows exactly what you’d see on a computer’s display. iPhone and Android both make it easy to capture screenshots on your phones, along with computers allowing you to take screenshots on your Mac or PC. One article even argues that the screenshot is the most important thing on the internet, serving as undeniable proof that something happened in a specific moment in time. Unless you’re physically present with somebody and able to show them your screen, the screenshot is the only way to share what you’re actually seeing with people you want to share with. The old saying is that a picture says 1,000 words, and there’s no faster way to say 1,000 words than with screenshots.
In today’s age of disappearing stories, deleted tweets, edited news articles, and much more, screenshots are a great way to guarantee delivery; what you see in the screenshot you take is exactly the same as the person you send the screenshot to. But what are the main use cases for screenshots? And more importantly, what are smart screenshots?
Use cases for screenshots
Original use case: Collaborating with others. Screenshots are often the quickest and easiest way to asynchronously share information with others, via tools like Slack, iMessage, social media networks, email, and much more. When you don’t have time to jump on a Zoom call or Google meet to share your screen, a screenshot is the fastest way to share information. In fact, one of the original use cases of screenshots was for technical support, so that the support technician could see exactly what the user sees, and allow them to better diagnose the problem and offer solutions.
In the early 2010’s, screenshots really changed due to the adoption of the iPhone and other smartphones. The two main use cases of screenshots became:
Screenshots are a fast and visual way to share information. If you get an error message or bug, or want to share a frame of a video without needing to share a link to the specific point in time, a screenshot is the best way to share what’s happening at a specific moment in time.
For example, If you don’t have time to jump on a call to show somebody how to do something (or if the person is in a completely separate timezone), a screenshot is the best way to share how to do something. Some tools, like Skitch, make it easy to add markup to your screenshot, such as arrows, boxes, text, or even other images.
Screenshots guarantee delivery: what you see in the screenshot is exactly what the recipient sees. This is especially important due to the dynamic nature of many websites, and users receiving different experiences depending on what they’ve interacted with in the past, their login/profile data, and much more.
Smart screenshots explained
Everyone knows what a smartphone is, or smart TV’s, smart speakers, even smart glasses. Essentially, each of these is a version of something that previously existed (such as the phone), with added functionality designed to make it digital, networked, able to be operated autonomously, and customizable.
A standard screenshot is just an image, no different from photos that have existed for 200 years. It would literally be no different than taking a photograph of your screen with your camera (which some people actually do!) In fact, the very first screenshot was a photograph taken on a polaroid camera of a pin-up girl back in 1959. The image was drawn by a computer programmer for fun on an extremely expensive cathode ray-tube screen.
A smart screenshot, on the other hand, is a screenshot that contains added metadata and deep links that connect you with the source of the screenshot. For example, a screenshot of a YouTube video could take you to the video, or you could press on the creators username to open their profile.
Examples of Smart screenshots
Here are some examples of smart screenshots on pager.
Each of these images is linked to the actual location where the screenshot was taken.
How can I use Smart Screenshots?
Sign up for pager to get started using smart screenshots today! pager is currently available for TikTok and Instagram influencers and is designed as an easy way to share screenshots with your followers.