Be a photographer for your friends. No need to stand together when you arrive at a party, but sign up for the delicate board How Your Friends Dance or How Someone Play Air Guitar Solo. This is the purpose of Poparazzi. The US app has just launched for Apple devices and is already topping the download list in the US.
The launch also came with a kind of statement on Medium called “The Anti Selfie Selfie Club.” With their app, the manufacturers want to move away from the filtered Instagram image and give users a chance to share the raw, unrestricted photos with each other.
The creators wrote, “For a decade, our feeds are increasingly filled with this easy-to-tweaked perfection.” “When we post about ourselves, we tend to only share the most exciting moments in our lives.” The result, they say, is a never-ending cycle where no one wins, because in the end no one feels their life is so exciting. Others’ photos always look a little better.
So Poparazzi wants to reverse the concept. As a user you cannot take pictures of yourself. It is your friends who take pictures, preferably at the most unexpected moment, and then post them to your profile. She then “pops” again when, for example, they are just trying to eat a solid. This creates a cycle of raw and hilarious photos, for which the app doesn’t allow any filters. There is also no counter on the profile that indicates the number of followers. As Poparazu, the goal is to follow others.
Even the beta version of the app was successful and has already been tested by 10,000 people. Even before the app was launched, about 100,000 often “refreshing original” photos were posted. For those who find the photos taken by his friends somewhat original, there is still an option not to include them on his profile.
Experts do not expect the app to herald the end of the selfie culture: it is already ingrained. According to Rob Heymann of the Flemish Knowledge Center for Data and Society, this app opens a “new registry” for sharing photos with each other. In addition to TikTok for carefully practiced dances and Facebook for shots your family can see, there is now a Poparazzi for uninitiated party photos.
In fact, the app uses the same mechanisms as other social media. “It responds to the idea of fomo (“Fear of missing out” or fear of missing out on something beautiful, edited).Heyman says. “When people start taking pictures that haven’t been shared anywhere else, other people tend to look at the app as well. This is a technology that has drawn a lot of people to Facebook.”
After that, Poparazzi might keep users on its app because they are busy following the image materials produced by them and others. The new thing about Poparazzi is that you are no longer a maker of your own photos, but here too everything is about seeing and appearing.
“Teens especially will want to be always in the picture with the right people,” Heyman says. “Identity and status are very important to them. By taking pictures, they can also confirm each other’s status as friends.”
This, in turn, can lead to bullying or exclusion. Poparazzi appears to be covering this in the FAQ page of its website: it pays a remarkable amount of attention to what you can do to report or block other users. The app also ensures that if you delete your profile, the photos will be gone forever.
According to Mariek Vanden Abeele, professor of digital culture at Ghent University, the question is whether the app will get past the curiosity stage. “We see that people really appreciate how they present themselves on social media,” she says. “This desire goes against the selling point of this app.”
If you just created an account, friends can post pictures to your profile to their hearts content. Only those who put their profiles in private can control which pictures are placed on their profile. The fact that uncensored photos can end up on your profile will put many people in limbo. Vanden Abeele predicts that eventually group-related criteria will emerge about what users dare to post on the app. Automatic images will also be carefully “formatted” here.
“Sharing everyday moments has an important social function,” says Vanden Abeele. “We’ve seen it during a pandemic. These little interactions are important: With every joke we send, we affirm our relationship with each other.”
“I think it can work in groups where friends really trust each other. I think close groups of friends end up posting beautiful pictures of each other online. Posting pictures of friends while they eat burritos is something I don’t see happening anytime soon.”