Shoreditch in London is known as being Hipster central for the city, and also the UK. Everywhere you look there are scruffy beards, checked shirts, horned glasses and Apple logos bob under arms. Looking down on all of this though, are a couple of billboards proclaiming in no uncertain terms “No one likes you.” and “You have no friends”. This… interesting marketing campaign comes from the minds of ustwo, the app developer behind Rando, a so called “anti-social” photo sharing app.
Photo Exchange App
Essentially the app works through a photo exchange style idea. You take a picture on your phone and send it off, and a few moments later, a picture will arrive back on your phone. The trick to all this is that it’s entirely random. You don’t know who will get your picture, or where in the world they’ll be and vice versa. You can receive snaps from all across the globe, seeing still moments in other lives that you will probably never intersect with. It’s a fascinating idea and highly addictive as you have no way of knowing what photo will arrive next. The app also forces you to be interactive, as you can only receive a picture once you’ve sent one. It encourages a controlled exchange rather than a flood of information like Instagram or Snapchat can be.
Obviously, there are trolling opportunities abound here, but with the option to flag a photo as inappropriate means that users can highlight to ustwo who’s just using the app to send dick pics to everyone.
Social Network Free
What’s interesting about Rando is not only the concept, a good one though it is, is the response. Go to download it on the app store and you’ll see many comments applauding the fact that the app isn’t connected to any social network. No Facebook, twitter, G+ or otherwise, just the app and those using it. It isn’t about calling attention to yourself, you are anonymous, with only a location to go on (and many users don’t provide their location, which spoils the fun a little it must be said).
Social Media Backlash
There does seem to be a backlash against the now seemingly omnipotent presence of social media in our lives. Many people, when asked, will tell you that they don’t really like Facebook or always being connected, but they don’t know how they’d stay in contact with everyone otherwise due to it being so worked into our social fabric now. The younger generations aren’t actually connecting through social media in the same way as the generations who came before them. Many are, in fact, rejecting it entirely.
Are apps like Rando the next wave then? A push back into anonymity where we can enjoy a little mystery in our lives once again rather than bearing all. It’s hard to say right now, but if so, it will be very interesting to watch unfold (especially as Facebook is trying so hard to stay relevant).
Until then, well, there’s always insulting posters.