The Death of the Social Network & The Rise of the Picture Chatting App

Introducing Lutebox, the fastest way to talk over a photo

This is Renata. She’s your typical teenage girl. She’s grown up digital and is always connected 24/7 to her friends. She loves sharing photos, viewing stuff her friends are sharing, and also chatting with friends.

But something interesting has happened over the past few years. Three to five years ago, the bulk of Renata’s conversations would be happening over Facebook; she would share photos, view photos that her friends were sharing, and privately message her friends when they’d be online, all on Facebook.

However, that is no longer the case.

Nowadays the bulk of Renata’s social interactions are happening over private chatting apps. And she’s not alone.

Whatsapp - one of the most well known of the chatting apps - claims to have over 200 million users. To put that in context, that is more users than Twitter. Kik, another popular app in the West has 50 million. However even these are small compared to some of the fast growing East Asian chatting apps like KakaoTalk from South Korea with 75 million users. Or Line, another South Korean app that’s big in Japan, with 100 million users. Or even the biggest one of them all, China’s WeChat, with over 300 million users.

It is clear that people nowadays, teens in particular, prefer the private, personal nature of chatting with friends, versus the public broadcast nature of Facebook and other social networks.

And when it comes to photo sharing, it is no different.

Whereas a few years ago the main photo sharing platforms would have been Facebook and Flickr, nowadays it is all about Snapchat. Last year when Facebook scrambled to acquire Instagram it was because of the sheer scale of photos being shared over their platform that made it so attractive. However, where Instagram sees 50 million pictures shared daily, Snapchat has 150 million shared every day. This is an incredibly clear indication that users would much rather prefer the personal engagement of private photo sharing than broadcasting publicly.

However, as great as these private sharing apps are, there is a big disconnect between chatting and picture sharing. Although you can share photos through chatting apps, Whatsapp and others tend to put photos as an afterthought that get lost in the conversation stream.

Facebook and Instagram let you broadcast photos, but don’t emphasize chatting around them, while Snapchat lets you quickly share a photo, but you can’t have a conversation around it or discuss it. In fact on Snapchat, if you want to reply to a picture, you have to send another picture or leave the app and send the friend a text.

There is still no quick way to share a picture privately and then have a conversation over it. Which is why we developed Lutebox.

Lutebox is the fastest way to share a moment and talk over it.

With Lutebox, your pictures and conversations around them are saved, as photos are meant to be. Lutebox lets users quickly snap and share a photo, with selected friends privately, and then chat with them about it. The best part is although the emphasis is on voice chatting, users can use text or even another photo to message back and express themselves. Lutebox represents the best of picture chatting.

You can download the app here: