Trying Out Pablo

Pablo, a new tool from Buffer, says it will let you “Design engaging images for your social media posts in under 30 seconds.”

This is sort of true.

You can go to Pablo, accept a random connection of stock images and popular quotations, download the result, and have a graphic in 30 seconds.

I don’t know how many combinations of image/quote there are, but it is possible that your readers might be engaged by some subset of Pablo’s potential products.

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This assumes that your readers find random pictures with random quotes engaging and aren’t bothered by random typography.

If you have more than 30 seconds, you can choose the quotes and images, and you can even upload your own images and put in your own text.

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You can add your logo, too, with the handy tool circled below:

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You can choose a different font or color and add filters to the images, thereby creating potentially better graphics, or truly horrible graphics like the one below.

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The image at the very top of this post was made with Pablo. I uploaded a picture one of our team took, typed in a quote a client sent me yesterday, added some breaks to the text to make it look a little bit more intentional, and then resized the image to show to best effect. This took me only slightly longer than it would have if I had done it in Photoshop.

It really isn’t fair to compare quick online graphic tools to Photoshop, but Pablo really seems to be the automatic hotdog cooker of the online graphics tools, where Photoshop is the stove. I can imagine a situation in which it would be useful — you are the only one in the office and for some reason that I haven’t yet thought of, it is up to you to create a quick graphic for social media, but you have no idea where to start, no skills, no tools, and a meeting coming up in just minutes. If this happens to you a lot, you should probably make some changes in your workflow.

It is fun to play with, and that may be its biggest problem. Rather than being used only by people in desperate situations, it will probably be used a lot, by people who share random quotes on random backgrounds already. Soon, every possible combination will be showing up in your Pinterest feed, Twitter stream, and Facebook wall over and over. Vague pronouncements by Arianna Huffington on snowscapes will be an inescapable feature of social media.

So, no, I don’t think this is useful for businesses. I do admire the tool, though, because it’s clever. You can tweet or post your creations right from the tool, and schedule them with Buffer, too. Treat this like a LOLcat generator, though, and pick your audience.

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