Harrison Weber is TNW's Features Editor in NYC. Part writer, part designer. Stay in touch: Twitter @harrisonweber, Google+ and Email. Harrison Weber is TNW's Features Editor in NYC. Part writer, part designer. Stay in touch: Twitter @harrisonweber, Google+ and Email.
After launching back in August, Backspaces, an iPhone app for telling stories using just photos and text, has passed 50,000 users and 90,000 stories. The service received a considerable boost during Instagram’s terms of service debacle, and has since taken on an interesting, reflective role in the mobile sharing space.
In short, Backspaces is more about thought than impulse.
We were the first to highlight the service upon its debut, and have watched closely as it continues to grow. Of course, 50k users is hardly a figure that will make investors and pundits swoon, but considering how involved users are in each story, it wouldn’t be wise to ignore the app, either.
We spoke with cofounder Adrian Sanders on Backspaces’ push for storytelling, and in response he pointed to Jack Cheng’s essay on “The Slow Web.” Sanders details that “a lot of social interaction on web has become like junk food – quick, easy, and just tasty enough to keep coming back without ever feeling satisfied.”
Conversely, Sanders says a Backspaces post is “more than a photo or an update. It’s just a little more articulate and expressive. Not just a photo of your car, [but] a story about your car — an explanation about why it’s important to you, or why it’s funny.”
Sanders believes that narrative — which he calls “the arbitrary but meaningful context that people put onto data and events — is what makes all of our media human. Narrative isn’t something that works well automated (I’m looking at you Facebook timeline!), it needs people. So we built Backspaces for people to tell their stories.”
Now featured for the second time in the App Store, Backspaces has left a particularly strong impression on creatives (from photographers to tattoo artists), and communities are beginning to form as a result (like #wearejuxt and #tinycollective).
Up until this point, Backspaces seems to have operated as a test to see if creators Sanders, Dmitri Cherniak and Wylie Conlon were onto something. Now Backspaces is out to prove that everyone has a story to tell.
If your interest is piqued, check out the app via the link below and try following a few of Backspaces’ users, like 1bite2xshy, ashleiketchum and befrank. You can also find me on Backspaces, here.
Image credit: Thinkstock
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