Hundreds of United States college students joined the photo-sharing app Switness over the past two weeks. “Switness” means “to witness a story.” You may be wondering, why join Switness when you already use other photo-sharing apps? Unlike today’s popular photo apps, Switness users can keep a profile filled with high quality, full screen photos and videos, as well as maintain the ability to like and comment on others’ photographs.
You may ask yourself, how is this different from Snapchat or Instagram? Switness creators and co-founders Anthony Morgan, a software developer, and Rupali Renjen, a former merchandise planning manager—who met as students at Stony Brook University—describe their app as the first full-screen photosharing application that provides users a platform for both a story and a profile. Switness allows the user to pick and choose what photographs are shown on their profile, letting them keep a consistent theme, if they wish. Conversely, Switness users can also post photos to their stories for friends and followers to see, without displaying them on their profiles—unless they choose to do so.
Switness also includes the ability to friend other users, but that list of friends stays confidential, only for the individual user to see. Some of today’s popular photo apps do not allow users to have this kind of separation between friends and followers. This is great because it gives its users “special abilities” for interacting with friends. For instance, users can send photos or videos directly to specific friends, but not followers.
Similar to Snapchat, Switness includes a “story” feature in which the user can add photos or videos for all of their friends and followers to see. Stories shared by friends are prioritized on an individual’s story feed over stories shared by the people you follow.
Students from the University of North Texas said that Switness allows them to share their stories when they want and with whom they want—all on one platform. Other students said that they are already “obsessed” with the app and its features, claiming the privacy functions give Switness a unique edge that differs from other photo sharing apps. Texas students love that they can easily swipe back and forth through their story feed and that photos don’t auto advance to the next photo—the Switness app keeps you in control.
Morgan and Renjen intend to expand the app into Android systems in the near future. It is currently available for anyone in the U.S. with an iPhone to download for free in the App Store.