Facebook’s Instagram has mercilessly plundered features from Snapchat over the last couple of years, resulting in an Instagram that’s more Snapchat than Snapchat.
Although Snap’s premier app has always been fairly confusing for anyone new to the Snap universe, several recent changes (likely) in response to Instagram’s pillaging have made some features even more troublesome. However, there are some silver linings to the changes taking place at Snapchat.
Less Chatty, More Snappy
Instagram always had a leg up on Snapchat.
The user base alone was basically insurmountable, then adding in the backing of parent Facebook meant there was no way Snapchat would be able to compete directly. So, when Instagram swiped the “Story” format from Snapchat’s platform, it was only a matter of time before the war would end with Snapchat battered and bruised.
But, like a good soldier, Snapchat’s not down for the count. Instead of continuing to fight a war it knew it would never win, it retreated and has formulated a whole new plan. No longer would Snapchat even attempt to be a social network, it’s now aiming to become a tool to communicate with close, personal friends, where users can also check out new media without being a part of it.
And, of course, what users see is delivered by ever-helpful personalized algorithms.
Snapchat, New and Improved?
The new version of Snapchat has been disorienting for existing users, who have been understandably rattled by the major makeover, but at the same time, those changes may make it possible for new adopters to actually keep the tool over the long-term.
Besides remaining a fun and powerful camera app, Snapchat has chosen to maintain its “Discover” screen, where visitors can take in content from carefully curated publishers like The Wall Street Journal and BuzzFeed.
Users can still connect to friends, but that is definitely not the focus of the app today. Instead, it has set some very clear groundwork to achieve greater monetization in the future. Although there isn’t a lot of content available, what is there is good content. The new platform proved to be particularly interesting during the Olympics, when it was able to provide 24-hour coverage of basically everything.
This new direction has a lot of potential, if Snapchat can figure out how to balance profits with the experience for people who got it where it is. After all, Instagram is the new old Snapchat.