How Frontback Is Getting Popular in Japan

While today’s update is a significant one for photo-sharing app Frontback, something unexpected is happening as well — Frontback is blowing up in Japan, China and Brazil. In fact, the app is now more popular in these countries than in the U.S.

“In the U.S., people are using Frontback for important events like the Superbowl to make a statement and share what they are doing,” co-founder and CEO Frédéric della Faille told me in a phone interview. “In Japan, people found a way to express themselves through the app, and it’s very different,” he continued.

A Frontback post is a very restrictive form of expression. In some way, taking a Frontback is the visual equivalent of writing a Haiku. There are some artistic rules that you need to follow — it’s short and self-contained. But after that, the sky is the limit.

In Japan, the community has recently decided to self-organize. On February 24, there will be a Japan Frontback meetup. One of the attendees will be Himesora, a Frontback power user who really took advantage of the platform.

She loves art, cartoons and graffiti. She always carries with her a binder with fake paper eyes. Every time she wants to take a Frontback, she pulls the appropriate pair of cartoon eyes and put them on her glasses. In other words, she has created a character for Frontback. You can see the result at the top of this article.

And with the global feed, people all around the world noticed her. They started interacting with her. In the U.S., Mexico and South America, Frontback users have engaged with Himesora — they reply using selfies and captions.

Frontback Community 2

“The non-product team is composed of two persons right now, that’s a quarter of the team,” della Faille said. “We are realizing that when you are dealing with a public graph, you need to provide inspiration to fight timidity. That’s why we are doing staff picks as well. We want to show the true face of the world, with a smile.”

Other users are using Frontback for very specific purposes. For example, Tamkai transforms his daily life into drawings. Willie Myers wants to tell stories using only two pictures.

While Frontback created a new medium, the team is only realizing now the power of this photo format.

“There is something deeply personal about the experience sharing and viewing community member profiles daily in the public space,” community manager Elissa Patel wrote in an email. “All of these photos fall into the category of no filter, no cropping, no photoshop — real people with real stories.”

Frontback Meetup