The Anti-Social Network

We’re an open-minded bunch here at Manero. Anytime something new comes our way, we gladly give it a shot before passing judgment.

However, there were definitely some double takes when we heard about Rando, a self-proclaimed “experimental photo-exchange platform.”

First of all, there was the name—it just sounded too much like someone’s creepy uncle. And then there was the software’s actual purpose. Basically, you take a picture with your camera phone and the app sends it anonymously to someone anywhere in the world. In return, you get an unsigned photo of your own with the general location it was taken. So, strangers sharing pics with strangers. A bit too close to Carlos Danger territory, no?

But we started to come around to it as we explored the app’s features—or rather, lack of them. Rando’s designers purposefully left out ubiquitous social media contrivances like comment boards, multi-sharing tools and direct messaging. Because there’s no way to guess the photographers’ identities, let alone contact them, we felt a degree of disconnect that let us appreciate the imagery on its own terms.

And then there’s the app’s aesthetics. All the photos are framed within circles, giving them a highly voyeuristic feel, as though we were looking at someone’s life through a peephole. We saw this as a subtle critique of the “Look at me!” sites populating the social media landscape, whether or not that’s the reaction the designers were going for. Either way, Rando’s Zen-like commitment to privacy is what won us in the end.

Though, just to be on the safe side, let’s not tell Anthony Weiner about this one.