A new mobile application called Tapsule, launching today, combines group messaging with photo and video-sharing, allowing users to create private or public collections which can be shared in whole or in part with others, even if they’re not Tapsule users themselves.
The concept is not that dissimilar from a number of other photo-sharing apps on the market, like Albumatic, Eversnap, Cluster, Bonfyre, and those dedicated to collecting photos and other media from big events, like parties or weddings, for example.
However, in Tapsule’s case, the idea is less about organizing photos into albums, and more about creating what founder Jeff Jackel describes as “collaborative media,” where a group of friends comes together to create stories which others can find and follow through Tapsule, or by viewing the posts as they’re shared more broadly across social media platforms, like Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.
“I’ve always had a firm belief that, when anyone sees a piece of social content, what they really care about is the story behind it. Finding that story requires the ability to go deeper,” says Jackel. “Who else was with you when you took that picture? What did they think was beautiful there? What happened that morning, that night, the next day? It’s not about a single, beautifully filtered shot, it’s a bunch of moments strung together that give your post context and make me care… and that requires the story to have multiple perspectives,” he adds.
The idea grew out of the company, Chatter Inc.’s, earlier product called BuzzMob, which was initially a way to connect crowds of people at large events, before pivoting to focus entirely on school communities. Tapsule, meanwhile, is about connecting people on a smaller scale.
As Jackel says, it’s ridiculous that in 2014, social media is still not collaborative, leading us to ask friends “can you text me that pic so I have it?” There should be a better way to share.
To use the app, you can connect with Facebook, Twitter or sign up using email, then create your first “tapsule” – a name meant to be reminiscent of “time capsule,” which is what these mini-collections eventually become. Here, you can add messages, photos, and 10-second videos. You can then set the tapsule to public or private, and invite your collaborators.
To share your creation with others, you can send out texts or emails, or post the tapsule on social networks from sharing functions built into the app.
“The ability to share outside of the app is an important aspect of what we’re trying to do at Tapsule. This allows our users to create content together and share it absolutely anywhere,” notes Jackel.
And if you ask a non-Tapsule user to collaborate with you, they’ll have the invite waiting for them after downloading the app.
There’s also a social element on the service, allowing you to find and follow your friends and their tapsules, which differentiates the app a bit from its album-sharing counterparts.
The company, originally founded in 2011, raised $600,000 in angel funding that year, followed by $2 million in seed funding from Craig Cogut, founder and managing partner at Pegasus in 2012. It also sold a small equity stake to MWW Ventures in between the rounds.
Tapsule is a free download on iTunes.