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woman using disposable camera like the dispo app

Dispo is short for disposable — and you might be able to tell where this is going. The emerging photo-sharing social app mimics the concepts of a disposable camera.

In fact, when taking a picture, the interface even looks similar to disposable cameras. And like a disposable camera, it’s somewhat difficult to gauge how the picture will turn out:

Its simplicity sets it apart.

Dispo Features

Compared to other photo-sharing apps, Dispo is nearly featureless.

When taking a picture, you get access to only three options: a viewfinder, controls for zooming in and out, and the flash button. That’s it. In this way, the app does a good job of representing what it’s like to take a photo with an actual disposable camera.

screen view of dispo app

Once the picture is taken, it needs time to “develop”, which means you cannot view or post the photo until 9 a.m. the following day. From there, you can post the photo to your profile, post it into a shared group camera roll with other select users or just keep it in your library for your personal enjoyment.

What we find particularly interesting about Dispo is its lack of editing options — Dispo will automatically apply a filter to your photos, but no further modifications are allowed. You cannot upload photos yourself — they must be taken from within the app. This is a stark contrast to the often Photoshopped landscape of Instagram and gives Dispo a distinctly unique selling point.

There is also no option to add captions of any kind, meaning Dispo isn’t a Snapchat clone, either. It’s simple photo sharing — and that’s it.

As far as sociability goes, Dispo gives you the option to follow other users. On photos, you can like and comment. But the social aspect of Dispo stops there. You cannot even message other users like you can in almost every other social media app. The creators of Dispo — influencers David Dobrick and Natalie Mariduena — have done a good job of keeping the focus on photo sharing, even going so far as to ignore basic social features that have been commonplace since Facebook first arrived on the scene.

Dispo’s Appeal

It’s no secret that Instagram is the leading photo-sharing app. It’s also no secret that the vast majority of Instagram photos are meticulously edited. Even if they’re not, you know for certain that the photographer put a lot of time into taking the photo to ensure it would come out just right.

Like all trends, the allure of Instagram is slowly fading. We’re not here to make any bold claims — as in, we don’t think Dispo will dethrone Instagram or anything of that nature. But it’s no secret that people, and influencers, are growing tired of the overly-polished aesthetic.

That leaves an opening — one that Dispo is looking to fill. Dispo challenges the established paradigm without any reservations. Rather than polished photos, Dispo takes us back to our candid roots.

It’s sort of funny, in a way. Technology has progressed so much when it comes to photo editing. Back in the day, Photoshop was an enormous expense that no one used (other than professional designers). Now, we have robust photo editing tools available for free on our mobile phones — yet people are gravitating towards platforms like Dispo that don’t allow such tools to be used.

As far as demographics go, Gen Z is leading the charge when it comes to Dispo.

Content in Real-Time

Clubhouse is another emerging social media app that also challenges the established way of doing things. You can think of it as an interactive real-time podcast. Circles of people can talk to each other with short voice recordings that disappear immediately. Recording Clubhouse conversations is also strictly against the app’s Terms of Service, which means if you’re not engaged with the app, you might be missing out.

In December 2020, Clubhouse had 600K+ active users. As of late February 2021, it climbed to 10M+ active users. Clubhouse shows that there is clearly demand for apps that go against the grain of traditional social media. We think Dispo has the potential to become the Clubhouse equivalent of photo sharing, even though the interface is slightly different. For example, photos do not disappear from Dispo — but the theme of keeping it casual certainly resonates across both platforms.

Like Clubhouse, Dispo was an invite-only app when going through its beta stage. But as of March 9, 2021, Dispo is available to everyone — that has an iPhone or iPad, for now. If you do, head over to the App Store and see what all the buzz is about.

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