Can these “anti-Instagram” apps slap Instagram on the beach?

This article is from WeChat public number: Geekpark (ID: geekpark), author: Shen Zhihan, original title: “A picture social software can not “selfie”, how to socialize? The title is from: unsplash

Can these "anti-Instagram" apps slap Instagram on the beach?

In late February, Dispo was gaining traction with its “back to basics” approach of no filters, no p-rays, and a 24-hour film camera simulator, gaining a large number of young users. On May 24, an app called Poparazzi topped the iOS US free charts on its launch day.

Similar to Dispo, Poparazzi is decidedly “anti-Instagram,” saying that social media is too full of over-glamorized inauthenticity. Many of its features are designed to encourage young people to unlearn the social media “masquerade,” and by doing so, Poparazzi has attracted a large number of Z-generations who do not want to be “manipulated” by social media.

If the reason for Instagram’s success is the filter and inauthenticity, which allows countless vegetarians who want to become KOLs to find a sense of belonging here, what is the logic behind Poparazzi’s potential to become a “phenomenal” hit? In today’s social network, is it really possible for the “real” to overturn the “inauthentic”?

Encourage socialization, but not self-centered socialization

Dispo is essentially a film-based photo experience that allows users to fill in their photos under a theme of film. However, as Dispo’s popularity declined, it became more and more of a photo sorting tool, and its lack of social attributes prevented it from becoming the “content co-creation community” it was intended to be.

When you open Poparazzi, the uninitiated might even think it’s related to Instagram because it looks so similar. The tab bar at the bottom is, from left to right, Photo Stream, Search, Photos, Like, and Personal Page. But how does Poparazzi manage to be the “anti-Infagram” in these nearly identical functional divisions?

Reality. Users can take still photos or “burst” them into GIFs. With no filters or editing features, Poparazzi is all about “no fuss”.

You are “defined” by your social network. Unlike all other photo apps, Poparazzi does not call the front camera and does not allow selfies, only other people. Poparazzi can be seen as a combination of pops and paparazzi, pops simulates the shutter sound when shooting and paparazzi translates to “paparazzi” in Chinese. paparazzi”.

The tag feature is not new to either Facebook or Instagram. But what’s new about Poparazzi is that when posting an image, users must tag at least one friend – either the friend in the photo or the friend they want to share it with, but not themselves. So the stream is filled with photos presented from a “third-party perspective”.

In addition, Poparazzi tries to diminish the presence of “you as a person” in several product settings. For example, on Instagram, you can tell if someone is popular by the number of followers they have, but Poparazzi does not. The only way to know how popular a person is is to see how many photos tag them on their page, and how many views and interactions they generate. The user’s profile mainly presents “who photographed you” and “who you photographed”.

Can these "anti-Instagram" apps slap Instagram on the beach?

Image from: Poparazzi

On a platform like this, users can’t expect it to expand their reach and become famous like Instagram. Instead, Poparazzi seems to be an “anti-social network” approach to “save” young people who are obsessed with their perfect selves on the Internet.

It’s worth noting that Poparazzi’s founders, brothers Alex and Austen Ma, also made the audio social product TTYL before Clubhouse, and it’s clear that they’ve been developing new products to convey their discontent with the existing social media. Poparazzi is trying to use pictures as a medium to facilitate real and honest communication between friends.

After all, if you’re willing to take the time to take a nice picture of a friend, it’s much more sincere than if you comment “666” under his picture.

A flash in the pan, or a chance to become mainstream?

In less than a week after launch, Poparazzi received $20 million in funding and was valued at $115 million, which is a real surprise, with 500,000 pre-installs on Poparazzi iOS during beta testing. Poparazzi is very good at marketing, such as promoting on TikTok, which “brought in” a group of young people before the product was even launched.

Yet the combination of features that were not new to the product became what many investors called “the best product of the summer,” and one even joked, “a16z should invest in it right away. The reason is Poparazzi’s strong social attributes, the underlying logic and rules of the product are “enabling” the social actions of users.

Poparazzi is a social product for acquaintances + semi-acquaintances, which requires users to register with their cell phone numbers and sync their phone book when logging in. This means that even if A doesn’t sync his phone book, B who has A’s phone number can follow A. If A and B are friends and B and C are friends, A can follow C through the photo stream if B takes a picture of C. This “unlocking” of the social relationship chain is also a key factor in the success of Poparazzi. This “unlocking” of the social chain is also the reason for the rapid growth of Poparazzi users.

In order to weaken the sense of “self-existence” and increase the interaction between friends, the action of taking a photo is actually initiated by a friend (the photographer), and then the photographed person swipes to himself in the photo stream or his personal page. In essence, Poparazzi does not want the user’s “persona” on the social network to be carefully designed, but this transition from the “first view” to the “third view” of The interaction process is greatly lengthened and can create some unexpected friction.

Can these "anti-Instagram" apps slap Instagram on the beach?

Image from: Poparazzi

For example, Poparazzi does not have filters or editing features for authenticity, but nowadays posting a “real portrait” is tantamount to exposing someone’s privacy on the open Internet. If a user finds out that a friend has posted a photo that he does not want to be “made public,” he needs to manually delete it. In order to protect human rights and prevent hate speech, Poparazzi does not have a photo comment feature, and the only way to interact is to reply with emojis.

So Poparazzi has to “grease” the social chain by limiting features and increasing social costs.

Although Poparazzi has had a good “opening”, subsequent evaluation will depend on user retention and usage intensity to verify whether the “let your friends take pictures of you” idea is feasible. Judging from the number of downloads, Poparazzi did not stay at the top for long and its popularity has declined.

In all likelihood, Poparazzi will not become a mainstream social product, overshadowing Instagram, just like Facebook, who cannot fail to see that young people are “decentralizing,” with news that Facebook and Instagram are also removing the number of likes on their tweets. The number of likes is also being removed from tweets. In terms of existing product design, Poparazzi does look a lot like a piece of Instagram that hasn’t been introduced yet.

But as SignalFire investor Josh Constine says, a true social network should move from content consumption (likes, comments, shares) to content co-creation, and the discontent and rethinking behind Poparazzi does bring some interesting new ideas to photo social.

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