Talk to your pictures with Digisocial

Digisocial is a new iOS app from the company of the same name. It’s available now as a free download from the App Store, with no additional in-app purchases.

Digisocial’s core concept is similar to Instagram — it is a photo-centric mobile social network that allows its users to post pictures with or without non-customizable filters (which can be applied in real-time while taking the picture rather than after taking the shot) and then like, comment and share images that they like via Facebook and Twitter. A link to the image’s page may also be copied for pasting to other social networks or email, and these are viewable via both the mobile and desktop Web. Digisocial’s site does not, however, appear to carry any functionality to browse images or users from its home page on the Web, however; users must use direct links to image or profile pages to make use of the service via their browser. Hashtags also only work within the app, not on the Web.

So far so Instagram, but Digisocial adds an interesting new layer atop its rather conventional base — the addition of voice recordings. Every image submitted may also carry a short voice memo, allowing the photographer to either talk about the picture or simply provide a bit of additional atmosphere — for example, if taking a photograph of a concert, they may wish to record a sample of the sound in the venue. Not only that, but users who wish to comment on the image may also make use of voice recordings rather than text comments if they wish; this theoretically allows comment threads to have a much more “conversational” feel than typing to each other, though the asynchronous nature of it means it’s still not quite as natural as real-time voice chat.

An unfortunate side-effect of this focus on voice, however, is that unwanted, abusive or explicit comments are all the more “real” when delivered in someone’s own voice rather than via the medium of text — and some popular photos, particularly self-portraits of women, are already attracting plenty of unwanted attention. There does not appear to be any easy means of reporting objectionable content, be it posted images/audio files or comments on posted content. Individual users may, however, be blocked from their profile page — though this is not especially obvious as it requires scrolling a toolbar to bring the “block” button on screen.

Alongside the public posting, Digisocial also allows private messaging between users, including the ability to send text, voice and photo messages as well as an image of the user’s current location on a map. Users must be friends on the service before they can message each other, however, which will hopefully prevent private abuse. The messaging service is simple but effective, and for many users it will be one of the most useful parts of the app if they have friends who also use the service. The app also, for some inexplicable reason, carries QR code reader functionality.

Digisocial is a high quality app that looks good and provides some genuine innovation in the overcrowded mobile-social photography network genre. The addition of audio recordings adds a much more “personal” touch to posted content, and the community seems to be lively and active at present, with many popular photos (particularly those featured on the app’s “Explore” page) attracting a large number of comments through both text and audio. The whole service needs a few tweaks here and there, however, including the ability to report objectionable content (or, if it is already there, to make it more obvious — I certainly couldn’t find it) and better access to the service via the desktop Web. Apparently an update is on the way to allow “enhanced post and comment control tools,” so hopefully that will take care of the former issue at least. On the whole, the app is off to a good start and will doubtless only improve over time — particularly if it continues to enjoy as active a community as it has at present.

Digisocial is currently ranked at No. 33 in Top Free Apps and No. 3 in Top Free Social Networking Apps. Follow its progress with AppData, our tracking service for mobile and social apps and developers.

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