#5: Embracing unfiltered authenticity
Dispo's beta version is already helping us escape the constructed digital feed.
Hi, I’m Erifili Gounari, and this is issue #5 of The Digital Native. This newsletter is aimed at driven, curious and inspired Gen Zers, interested in mindset, entrepreneurship, business, marketing, and more!
This wouldn’t really be a newsletter about social media, Gen Z, and the internet in general, if I didn’t talk about the latest addition to forward-looking social media apps: Dispo. On the App Store, you’ll find Dispo as the YouTube star David Dobrick’s disposable film camera app, that allows you to take photos through an interface resembling a disposable camera. The app’s selling point is that you have to wait until 9am the next day to see your photos, and they automatically appear with a filter that makes them look pretty much like real film. 🎞
However, this is not what everyone’s been talking about. A few days ago, the small team behind Dispo released an invite-only beta version, available through Testflight, which turns the original concept into a social media platform, entirely changing and upgrading the initial idea. The Dispo brand barely did any publicity of the beta version launch- but through Twitter, the word quickly spread and everyone was looking for an invite. Each user could invite up to 20 friends a day, so the numbers grew fast. 📸
Less than a week after launching, the beta reached its cap at 10,000 users. There was a lot of excitement, especially on Twitter, from people discovering a social media platform that has a completely new interface and features than what we’ve seen before. It’s also already become commonplace on Twitter for people to see all of their shots from the previous day at 9am, and post their favourites in a tweet!
Alexis Ohanian, the co-founder of Reddit and investor behind Dispo, made the below tweet which received over 300 replies of people sharing their ‘film’ shots. 👇
As a social media marketer and a photographer, the concept of the app interested me a lot from the second I heard about it. The beta app states that they wish for people not to share screenshots, so there’s little that can be found online about its features and design. However, as I’ve been playing around with it for over 5 days now, I’ve really come to love the fact that it’s as far away from Instagram and typical photo-sharing social media apps as one can get.
👉 On Dispo, you don’t have a unified ‘feed’, and you can’t upload photos from your camera roll either- just photos you take directly through the app. You can create public or private rolls (think of them like photo albums) that appear on your profile, and make collaborative rolls with your friends where you can all share photos depending on a theme, or randomly. For example, picture this: We’re in a nice post-COVID time where we can all go out with friends, and you’re at a party. You open Dispo and create a private collaborative roll inviting all your friends to join it too. Then, whenever someone takes a photo at the party, they can take it directly ‘inside’ the roll from the app, and they all appear the next day at 9am. No having to send everything to your friends the next day, no texting back and forth and AirDropping. Easy! And they look like you took them with a real disposable.
Dispo’s nature is ‘unfiltered’ in a metaphorical sense. Of course, the photos are filtered to look like they came from an old-fashioned disposable camera. However, the fact that you can’t choose the best pics from your existing camera roll, or that you can’t see the photos right when you take them, results in a collection of authentic, natural, raw ‘chaos’, that escapes Instagram’s overly-curated and constructed ‘perfect life’ complex. The purposely-created aesthetics of Instagram and other social media platforms are hopefully starting to fade, as Gen Z and older generations move away from the phase where we believe what we see on influencers’ feeds is real. Instead, apps like Dispo set a trend for expressing oneself authentically on social media, and simply caring less for meaningless things such as a unified feed on your personal account that needs to look perfect.
In collaborative rolls such as “sunsets around the world”, “cool interiors” and “show what you’re reading”, strangers are simply sharing photos of nice things during their day with each other, in this community that’s still small enough to feel wholesome and cozy. You can follow people as well as like and comment on their photos, but you can’t see how many people someone is following, for example. This was especially wonderful for me to see because it drives us away from the toxic sentiment that’s often expressed on social media that following too many people is somehow bad/uncool (?).
It’s finally time that we start taking ourselves on social media less seriously, and move towards a more genuine and authentic social media space, where we embrace spontaneity and imperfection.
To close off… Here are some of my favourite shots that I took on Dispo this week! 🚀
Don’t know how I haven’t shared this yet, but this is one of the coolest websites that emerged in the past few months. Poolside.fm combines “poolside” music with an old-internet aesthetic, to give you a virtual vacation, as they say on the site.
“The audio and video streams are curated to inject a healthy dose of serotonin into your brain”. We love it.
Let me know what you think! (I recommend viewing on desktop).
Thanks for reading this issue of The Digital Native! I hope you enjoyed it and learned something new. Feel free to comment any thoughts below or email me! ☺️
Stay connected with me!
If you’d like some Gen Z insights…
Reach out to me for a chat about this newsletter issue, work, or anything else.
Drop me a note on firstname.lastname@example.org. 💌