Posting to Instagram is often about so much more than uploading a mere photo. Between getting the "perfect" shot, choosing a beautifying filter and geotagging, and coming up with a caption that strikes just the right balance of wit and depth, "posting to Instagram" can quickly become an ordeal.
"This expectation that your photos are mini artworks makes people hesitant to post snapshots," says Jeremy Fisher. "Sometimes people just want to share stuff for their narrative or emotional content, or to say 'This is what I did.'"
Fisher is a cofounder of Wander, a TechStars NYC grad whose new iOS diary app, Days.am, tries to remedy the "keeping up with the Joneses" effect of Instagram. Days.am is essentially a photo-sharing app that organizes the photos you take into, naturally, 24-hour days. You can create as many photo "moments" within a day as you'd like, and Days.am will keep adding moments to that day's collage.
You can also use Days.am to create GIFs out of your photos—and you don't need to know a thing about creating animated GIFs. Simply snap as many shots as you'd like in 10 seconds and the app will automatically fashion them into a GIF for you.
Fisher describes the GIF-making feature almost as a way to recycle all the "throwaway" photos you'd normally take en route to getting that one, perfect shot. Chances are, you normally either delete those less-than-perfect photos or let them wither away in your iPhone's Camera Roll. But within Days.am, even mediocre photos gets new life when strung together and animated, creating a fishbowl effect around the day's events, however exciting or mundane.
Unlike Instagram and many other photo-sharing apps, Days.am doesn't let you add filters (its tagline is "Real life. Unfiltered."); import photos from your Camera Roll (though photos taken within Days.am do save to your phone); reorganize the order of your pics; or share individual photos to other social networks. Days.am offers a sharing option that lets you text, email, or post photos to Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr, but you can only post photos from a full day, as opposed to just a part of it. You also can't share your day with friends in the app until after the next day has rolled around.
"We tried to avoid giving people options," Fisher says of the app's constrictions, noting that options tend to turn the experience into a competition (a la Instagram).
But Days.am is also designed to be useful even when you don't want to share your day with others.
"Everybody can understand why a diary is valuable and why you'd want to make one, even if nobody else looks at it," Fisher says.
Fisher is aware that any app—and especially a photo-sharing app—worth its users answers two questions: "What do you come for?" and, more importantly, "What do you stay for?" If people stick around on Instagram for the network and Snapchat for the ephemerality, Fisher hopes they'll stick around on Days.am for the context.
"The concept of a day is something everyone understands," he says.
[Images courtesy of Days.am]