The start of Threads, Meta’s new Twitter killer, has catapulted some of us into a social media midlife crisis. what is all this for, Despite it? Perhaps a shiny new app will bring meaning and structure back to microblogging. But do we also need so many shiny new apps?
So it’s fitting that just as Twitter is rethinking, a new app is coming out that will challenge Instagram. The founders of the app will not do that say That’s what they do, but they left Meta last spring to create a line of products that would actually bring family and friends back to your social photo feed, rather than brand marketers and celebrity reels. The result is Retro.
Retro is a new photo-focused mobile app launching today on Apple’s App Store. Like other recent photo sharing apps – BeReal springs to mind – Retro uses certain limitations to set itself apart. It’s private by default; People need to ask to follow one another (and ultimately follow together). Users are prompted to first share selected photos from their phone’s camera roll to view others’ photos.
Your photo albums are then grouped week by week, going back as many weeks as your native camera roll exists. All photos older than four weeks are locked and you need to give your friends a private key so they can view them. There are no photo filters in Retro, at least not yet, and video clips are limited to 60 seconds. If Instagram is now a publicly performative photo app and your private messages are a chaotic mix of text, tapbacks, and the occasional photo, Retro seeks to close the space between the two.
Retro’s team is small: Lone Palm Labs, the incubator behind it, lists only four employees sparse site. But all have meta credentials. Nathan Sharp, co-founder and CEO of Lone Palm, was the head of product management for meta products such as Instagram Stories, Facebook Dating and Facebook Groups for several years. Ryan Olson, another Long Palm co-founder and CTO, was the technical director and technical manager at Instagram for almost seven years. The company is backed by venture capital, but Sharp and Olson declined to disclose how much funding they have raised.