When Storehouse first launched, it was hard not to fall in love with the ease with which anyone could create visually stunning multimedia layouts. Version 1.0, however, was a perfect example of how the way people end up using an app can create completely unexpected climates and patterns of use. Storehouse 2.0 does away with a large part of the social media aspect of the app while keeping the great story creation tools and simplifying (and concentrating) how users share content.
Positioned somewhere between a way to easily arrange a beautiful presentation for your media and a new social media platform, once the novelty of the former wore off, the latter slowly made Storehouse intimidating for many of its users. Professional creatives kept constant tabs on how many “likes” or views their latest stories received while everyday users were pushed away by the feeling that they lacked the skills necessary to compete with the level of work constantly appearing on their feeds.
With Storehouse 2.0, users no longer follow other users on a mass scale. Instead, everything lives and breathes within “Spaces” (and yes, we can all breathe now with this newfound space). Spaces are user-created. The owner of each space invites users to join as viewers or collaborators with options to keep members private or public. Each space, usually with a specific subject or audience in mind, can be curated by the owner alone or by all of the contributors/collaborators as a group effort (for example, I was just invited to a Space with 16 complete strangers that is simply called, “Dogs I Meet on the Street.” How perfect?!).
Think of a Space as a portal for a certain type of story. Users can create Spaces for certain family or friend circles, for professional or personal work, or for coming together with various and specific groups of friends and strangers over a common interest. As the owner (i.e. creator) of a Space, you choose the title and make the rules (if there are any) that act as guidelines for people to follow. The only real rule is that there are no rules. You’re in charge. You could post an entire story on cats in the “Dogs I Meet on the Street” Space…but don’t expect to be in the group tomorrow.
While users of the “old” Storehouse might be hesitant to embrace what really is completely new, Storehouse 2.0 creates an environment and platform within which truly anyone can participate. As a professional photographer, I have thousands of family photos that I hesitate to share (because I know my dad will subsequently share that unfinished image of mine on Facebook and tag the crap out of me throughout it for all of my clients to see…). I can now create a Space called “Ottke and Family” that affords me a private area not only within which I can share images, but also within which I can create beautifully designed layouts, add text, and include rich photo and video content, just as I did previously with the “old” Storehouse. I can invite my entire family to join (or just my Dad’s side, for example) — and we can even all contribute with this cousin’s or that cousin’s updates so we never miss a beat. And of course, anyone can share the link to a story on their social media platform of choice so others can enjoy this content.
Storehouse 2.0 was also created with the understanding that over 90 percent of Storehouse traffic now comes from the iPhone. As a platform that was originally made for the iPad, this refocused effort gave birth to new design and layout features made for the iPhone’s smaller screen — and users can now shake to shuffle through a variety of smarter layout options for their content.
Every decision is intentional. You can comment and like a story so everyone can have a conversation about it, but you can’t send a direct message to someone. You can create and join Spaces that fit your interests, include your friends, and/or that others invite you to, but you can’t follow someone’s every post, regardless of how they want their posts viewed. None of this stops me from the habit of wanting to privately message someone from time to time; but that’s just the point: Storehouse is not meant as a social media platform. It’s not meant as your next go-to email-replacing messaging service. It’s there to simply be the best way to put your content — amateur or otherwise — into a layout that is intelligently designed in a user-can’t-fail (almost) gorgeous format for consumption.
For me, as a photographer, Storehouse 2.0 makes perfect sense as a companion that doesn’t try to replace any of the other great services that I love and will never leave. And as a typical user, I now have a great way to separate my personal, business, and family content from one another without having to “share all.”
Storehouse 2.0 is available for free in place of the original app on the App Store today. Start creating and inviting your friends to collaborate in your own Spaces.