Snapchat 2.0: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

As many of you know, Snapchat went through a pretty substantial update earlier this week.  Many of these alterations have been warmly welcomed by most, but one major change has been making the platform’s users cringe.  Because, in my opinion, the positives outweigh the negatives, I’m going to start with the bad news first and then attempt to smooth everything over with the popular upgrades.

Based on my usage and the research I’ve done on the new update, there is one feature that has basically been universally criticized.  And to make matters worse, you cannot turn this option off in settings.  When you tap a friend’s individual story to start watching, the next sequential story begins playing automatically.  Prior to this update, as we all know, we were able to click the stories we wanted to view, whenever we wanted to view them.  I’m assuming most people did not think this was much of a hassle, and in my opinion Snapchat tried a little too hard to make this aspect of the app operate seamlessly.  I don’t want to speak for everyone, but this “upgrade” has already led me personally to view several stories about thirty seconds after they were posted, which is borderline creepy.  Critics of this negative aspect will claim that all you have to do is swipe down to stop viewing the stories, but I’m sure most users do not want to have to precisely time when they are going to swipe down to stop viewing the stories to prevent automatically going on to your next friend.  Maybe we will all get used to this new feature, but as it currently stands, this is my one main disapproval of the Snapchat 2.0 update.

Now on to the positive changes that seem to make privately chatting with a friend easier and more versatile than ever before.  When you are chatting with a friend you can now send stickers, which are basically more artistic and detailed emoji’s, to describe an emotion you are feeling or the current state you are in (loving, hungry, tired, etc.).  This may seem minor, but as you will see, it fits into the trend that Snapchat is aiming for with its new additions.  You can also send short, ten-second video or audio loops to your friends when you’re on the go and can’t type or send a fancy snap.  In my opinion, this update is fairly minor because it doesn’t seem all that different from sending a video on the old platform, but it is cool how the video constantly loops like a GIF, which is something the app did have prior to the update.

From my experience so far, one of the most significant updates seems to be the ability to video and audio call with a friend that you weren’t already chatting with.  Video chatting was possible on the old version, but you already had to have exchanged messages in the “chat” screen.  Now, you can use the feature more like FaceTime, where you can select someone you want to chat with out of the blue, giving the app similar video chatting capabilities to an iPhone itself.  Lastly, the ability to share photos on your camera roll, which is a feature that users have been wanting for a while, is now available.  These are treated similarly to the pictures you take on the app, where you can edit and filter them any way you want before sending them to a friend.

Snapchat has certainly made some substantial strides, some forward and some backward, with the release of its new 2.0 platform.  While there are certainly some criticisms, I personally think the update is a nice change to an app that has been seemingly trying to differentiate itself with slight, insignificant updates for some time now.  The ability to communicate in many ways all in one interface is an attribute that I believe users will come to appreciate in time.  What do you guys think about the update?  Do you like the new features and the complexity, or would you have preferred the app stayed on the more simple, conservative path that it was on prior?

6 comments

  1. Great post! I personally hate the first feature you mentioned for exactly the reasons you listed. It really bothers me not to be able to pick who’s story I look at and sometimes I don’t even notice I’ve switched from one person to another. I’m sure I’ll get used to it, but for now I really miss the old way of watching stories. The video chat is an interesting feature but personally, if I want to video chat I will automatically turn to FaceTime. Again, I’m sure I’m the prime example of someone who hates the changes at first but will soon get used to them and not mind, but right now I’m unsatisfied with 2.0. I wasn’t ready for an update and didn’t feel like there were features missing from the old version.

  2. I’m actually surprised that the change is as positively regarded as it is. I would expect more of a pushback simply from any change. I’m sure the reason they’re doing the sequential stories is not for you but for them. It’s a perfect opportunity to slide in ads down the line as you grow to use the feature. I bet that’s whey they don’t allow you to opt out for now.

  3. Personally, I’m not thrilled about the update (but I’m sure I’ll get used to it). The first feature that you mentioned has made me consider deleting some “friends” so that the people who I am connected with and forced to interact with are only the people who I would want to interact with. I wonder if this update will lead to the narrowing of people’s Snapchat networks. As for the other features, I don’t think I will be using them because they all lie within the “chat” section that I simply do not use. Maybe I’m just stubborn, but I’d imagine I’m certainly not alone in having these opinions.

  4. I definitely agree with the comments above. The instant switching to the next story is terrible (for now). I thought about deleting “friends” as well, but decided that I will eventually get used to swiping down at the end of a person’s story. I am also curious to see if they start incorporating ads in the snapstories as they do for the “Discover” stories. I think the videochatting feature is the most interesting because I really don’t know if it will be adopted or not. I definitely use FaceTime for my videochatting, but when I think about how often I am on SnapChat, I can see myself using that feature out of convenience.

  5. I also really don’t like the switch to the next person. And the swipe down feature adds to my major beef about snapchat’s UI being really confusing and not intuitive. I didn’t know that was the way out until I read this post.

  6. I feel like SnapChat is always finding various ways to update their app and rub their users the wrong way. But nonetheless, the users come around and embrace the change whether they initially approve or not. This post was pretty relatable.

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