Captioning your Instagrams is one of the biggest struggles of the digital realm. Instead of coming up with something witty, smart and zeitgeisty every time, we're left racking our brains for something, anything to say about our thirst trap selfies and holiday snaps.
But this app could end all your caption deliberation woes. The app — called Rubric — analyses your Instagram photos using visual recognition technology and generates a selection of relevant captions.
Rubric founder Amber Atherton explains that the app scrapes trending words from social and Urban Dictionary while also linking in Rap Genius' API.
Rubric — which is free to download from the App Store — aims to update the trending words every 48 hours to ensure that Instagrammers are getting the trendiest vocab for their captions. This allows users to choose from lyrics, trending words, and quotes that are related to what's going on in your photo.
Atherton says the idea for the app came from spending hours "researching cool captions" to add to her Notes in her phone. Friends would ask her if they could use her Note and if she could write their Instagram captions.
"I had dinner with my friend from DeepMind one night and was like, OK there has got to be a more scalable way to do this. So, we started drawing out wire frames on napkins. Cliché but true, ha," says Atherton.
Atherton's caption Note is something I can relate to. I too have a doc full of quirky song lyrics, quotes from essays and poems, and witty things that are just waiting to work their way into an Instagram post. But I imagine a better world where my Instagram captions are less contrived and require far less effort. Could this app be the solution I've been dreaming of?
I decided to try out Rubric to see if it could give my caption-writing ability a run for its money.
First, I uploaded a picture of Donald Trump to see what kind of caption Rubric would generate. I clicked on the "politician" keyword, opting for the song lyrics feature. Not sure Trump will be in any hurry to use this a caption, though.
Next, I uploaded a photo of UK Prime Minister Theresa May. After analysing the photo I'd uploaded, I was presented with a number of keywords. I clicked on "election," given that May announced a snap general election last week. The result? A Joseph Stalin quote. Nice!
I uploaded a glorious photo of Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the Labour party, reading We're Going On A Bear Hunt to primary school children, and the results couldn't have been more perfect.
Some of the keyword options include: reading, cutie, homie, babe, sit, and elderly. Not sure how Corbyn feels about that last one. I used the trending terms feature and was presented with two delightfully apt options: "reading AF" and "reading game too strong." Corbyn, if you're reading this, you're so very welcome.
Why stop with politicians, though? I asked my colleagues for their favourite photos of themselves, and they happily obliged.
UK Deputy Editor Liza Hearon sent me this truly spectacular photo of her holding her friend's hedgehog called Mortimer. (Great name for a hedgehog.) But, for some peculiar reason, Rubric seemed to think that Mortimer was her boyfriend or child.?
I used the quote feature to see what the "offspring" and "couple" keywords had to offer. And the results were truly magical.
UK Real-Time News Reporter Gianluca Mezzofiore is so hip it hurts. He sent me this photo of him looking pensive beside a photo of Bob Dylan. Rubric seemed to understand the level of hipsterdom and offered up "beard" as a keyword. "Peak beard" is literally the most apt caption you could ever write about this photo.
Last but by no means least, I tried it out on a photo of myself enjoying a piña colada on a beach in Bali. Among the keywords were "babe," "cutie," "relaxation," and "eyeglasses." Curious, I had a look at the quotes feature to see what "cutie" had in store. I guess it's better than a Joseph Stalin quote?
Jokes aside, though, Rubric presents what most Instagrammers have been praying for for quite some time. An Android version of the app, and several other features are still in development, which will add further options like crowdsourced captions and sponsored captions from brands.
Rubric could be the beginning of something pretty cool for Instagrammers thirsting for caption #inspo.