Random Acts of Self-Expression

There’s no point in denying that social networks have changed people’s lives and the very perception of experiences. Sharing, commenting, retweeting and liking are actions that are now common and automatic for most of us, so it’s really hard to think out of the box and invent something new. ustwo™ Rando is not an ordinary social network, even if the starting point is similar to any network of photo-sharing (think of Instagram or Stream Zoo). I started using it some time ago thanks to Francesca, who tweeted about it; I’m quite adventurous when it comes to being online, and I like trying everything (yes, Chatroulette too [1]) at least once, and then decide if I like it or not. Well, Rando instantly won my heart because it retains a certain dose of mystery that can’t be found anywhere else. The basic structure of Instagram is broken – there are no followers, no likes, no shares – but the basic idea – sharing pictures – is kept. You basically send and receive anonymous pictures; the only personal detail you can add is your location. Maybe it’s just me but I find this extremely fascinating because it subverts the idea of online popularity and identity which is so important nowadays. Whenever I receive a Rando pic, I fantasize about it – why it was taken, who took it and so on – and I guess those who have received my random pics have felt the same.

I don’t think sharing some Rando pics I’ve received is intruding into someone’s life: these senders have actually decided to take the pictures to share them, after all. For this reason, I’ve decided I’ll keep the most interesting pics that will land on my phone and will post them here once in a while. Most of them feature city landscapes, but also nature scenes, food, art, animals. I’m a bit surprised but I haven’t received many selfies so far, so maybe that’s another good point of this app. People who receive your self-portrait don’t know anything about you, they can’t follow you, so there’s no point in showing the world who you are. No cult of personality is possible.

foto 1Moscow, Russia

foto 2Eastern China

foto 3Saint Petersburg, Russia

foto 4 (2)Toronto, Canada

foto 4Tel Aviv, Israel

foto 2 (3)North-Western Spain

foto 3 (1)Switzerland

foto 3 (2)

Kentucky, U.S.A.

foto 2 (2)

Paris, France

foto 1 (1)South Korea

foto (3)Madrid, Spain

foto 1 (2)Saint Petersburg, Russia

foto 1 (3)Seoul, South Korea

foto 4 (1)Paris, France

foto 2 (1)South Korea

[1] My students were shocked when I told them I used Chatroulette a couple of times, just out of curiosity. It’s true it’s a gathering place for pervs, but sometimes you can “meet” funny people.



  1. Interesting! I like the fact that you should receive pictures from unknown senders, but what’s happen if the content of the picture is inappropriate?

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