“Collaborative Journals Come to Life with Retro: The Premier Photo-Sharing App for Best Friends”

It’s a flexible way to share photos with your favorite people and create visual records of whatever matters in your life. Retro’s main feature is a way to share your most important photos of the past week with your favorite people. Retro’s answer to this use-case is journals: A new flexible way to share photos as a group. You can also have a journal with your partner to share important moments you’ve spent together without spamming all your friends on Retro. Building a social consumer app involves many experimentations — and journals are one of those experimentations.

As social media apps continue to prioritize maximum user engagement through algorithmic feeds and personalized content recommendations, Retro has decided to take a different approach with their latest feature called journals. This feature offers users a flexible and intimate way to share photos with their closest companions and create visual chronicles of their lives.

Founder and CEO, Nathan Sharp, explains that the feature is similar to a shared photo album, but can also be used as a personal photo diary.

“I understand that photo-sharing is not a new concept and many attempts have been made, with little success. Even Marissa Mayer’s recent venture Sunshine has received criticism. However, given the impressive background of our founders, it’s important to pay attention to Retro,” Sharp says. “The team behind this relatively new social app consists of Nathan Sharp and Ryan Olson, who both played a crucial role in implementing groundbreaking features like Stories during their time at Instagram.”

Retro’s main feature allows users to share their most significant photos from the past week with their closest friends and family. As photos are added, they come together to form a story that can be viewed by their friends. But this only works if all the most important people in their lives are on their social network. Which is why most people simply gather and take photos together, only to later share them in a group chat on a messaging app like WhatsApp or iMessage.

Retro has a solution for these situations with their journal feature. Co-founder and CEO Nathan Sharp compares it to a “photo-driven WhatsApp group.”

While Retro, which launched last summer, may still be relatively unknown to the masses, it has gained recognition among product designers specializing in social mobile apps. Sharp, however, hopes to unlock a “product-led growth engine.”

“Our initial priority is to create the perfect product for catching up with family and friends. The second part is ensuring that it’s easy for them to join. I believe journals play a significant role in accomplishing this,” he explains to TechCrunch. “The key is to focus on features that provide high utility for groups of people, attracting them to the app.”

With journal, users can curate photos around a particular topic, such as creating one for each of their kids to quickly and easily browse photos of them without the clutter of their entire camera roll. It’s a way to foster a unique bond with each individual.

Journals are also helpful for couples. They can create a space to share important moments without spamming their friends’ feeds. It also works well for events like weekend trips, where everyone can add and view photos without having to add each other as friends on the app.

“One of my personal favorites is our Valentine’s Day journal. I created one for my wife, with photos of just the two of us, going back ten years to when we first started dating. Now, whenever we have a new photo together, I add it to the journal. It’s a fun and living memory for the two of us,” shares co-founder and CTO Ryan Olson.

Some users may also utilize journals for personal projects or hobbies, such as woodworking. They can create a journal dedicated to furniture making with only themselves as the unique journal member.

“A photo journal is an excellent format for looking back and reflecting on something that grows gradually over time. It’s a way to capture and share memories that hold significance over long periods,” Sharp explains.

The new feature also has the potential to increase awareness of Retro when people use journals during real-life events, like weddings, where the organizer might typically leave disposable cameras for guests to take photos for sharing later.

Journals can also be shared outside of Retro through a generated public link, which can be posted on social media platforms, like Instagram stories. This eliminates the need for non-users to download the app to view photos. For example, it’s a convenient way to share wedding pictures with friends.

As Retro continues to experiment with their consumer social app, journals could potentially become their product-led growth engine as more people discover the app through public links to shared albums. Only time will tell.

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Ava Patel

Ava Patel is a cultural critic and commentator with a focus on literature and the arts. She is known for her thought-provoking essays and reviews, and has a talent for bringing new and diverse voices to the forefront of the cultural conversation.

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