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  • Ivan Chivington

Darkroom to your feed: Lapse

If you’ve recently been on the App Store, you may have noticed a new app called Lapse that’s suddenly topped the charts. You might even have the app downloaded yourself. Many students at Kilbourne already have the app. I, for one, have never heard of the app until recently and have decided to check out what all the buzz is about.

Lapse is a photo-sharing platform that takes inspiration from old disposable cameras from back before smartphones were a thing. And another thing that separates it from other photo-sharing apps like Instagram or Snapchat is the fact each account is completely private. You’re only allowed to share photos with your friends, and by friends, they mean the folks on your contacts instead of random people online. Chances are, you’ll already have a relationship with whoever is on your friend list. There is absolutely no fight online for followers and there’s a MUCH lower risk of scams and toxicity simply based on how the app is designed.

The fact they need people from your contacts to be your friends means that you need those contacts to actually use the app in the first place. In fact, you can’t even open the app until you have five friends ready to share with. When I originally installed the app, it took me a couple of days to get the chance to invite some people and actually learn what it was about, but when you get those five friends, you can really get moving. After you have those five friends, you can look into their friends, and then befriend them too, which was a very satisfying process.

As said before, Lapse acts somewhat like a traditional camera. Once a photo is taken, it stays in the Darkroom and it will stay there completely blurred so neither you nor any friends can see it. The process for the photos to “develop” takes several hours, and the time at which they develop can be completely random. You’re not going to immediately be able to share it with your friends. The app encourages users to take photos in the moment and share and save the reactions for later. It tries to get its users to go out and focus on making the memories rather than sharing them so the world can see. It’s very novel. One student compared it to BeReal, but you’re able to take as many pictures as you want.

One student who chose to remain anonymous thought that “the app is cute. I can hop on it for a bit and see that my friend’s shared a photo of their cat. I like it. It’s very charming.” However, not everybody shares the same sentiment. Another student said “if the app is so focused on the idea of stepping away from the phone and going outside, then maybe it’s better to not get the app in the first place,” and they compared the means of accessing the app as kind of a “pyramid scheme.”

I’m not one to use a lot of social media. I don’t and refuse to get any of the more famous ones like Twitter or Instagram, so trying out something like Lapse was an incredibly fresh experience. One thing I will say is that the app feels rather intrusive. It asks you to do a lot before you can even access the app. It needs your phone number, at least 5 contacts who may or may not have the app, and it even forces you to set up widgets on the front of your phone before you can use the app proper. This was not something I enjoyed, and if I’m forced to have those on my home screen, I might end up deleting it later. The private social media platform aspect of it is super charming, and I can’t help but appreciate it.

Personally, I’m not much of a social media user and I don’t see myself checking the app too often, but overall, if you’re into the grind of social media, but just want to experience social networking with friends and family without gaining the attention of other people on the Internet, then Lapse would be the perfect app.


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