Facebook’s the new Snapchat?

Facebook is undeniably the king of social media. What started out as a social networking site for college students now has nearly 2 billion monthly active users. They have changed their platform is so many different ways since it was initially launched, and one of their biggest strengths is taking aspects of other networks and making them even better. The newest victim of Facebook’s advancements is fellow social media giant, Snapchat.

Snapchat is currently on quite a hot streak with their recent IPO that caused their latest private valuation of $17.8 billion to jump to a public market capitalization of $28.4 billion. Not to mention the amount of Boston College students that were posting snapstories non stop of their spring break debauchery in one of the Seven Wonders of the World, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. This had to have significantly increased their stock price over the last week. They’re also taking measures to advance their product by consistently coming out with new updates to their app that include new features to make your snaps more interesting and fun. They’ve also released their new snap spectacles with look and seem extremely stupid but I’m sure people out their will buy it. A bigger future problem than their snap spectacles, which are bound to fail like Google Glass did, is how to deal with Jesus reincarnated, more commonly referred to as Mark Zuckerberg.

snap

Just 4 days ago, Zuckerberg and the Facebook team launched an update to their messenger app in which they created a picture taking function very similar to that of snapchat. It’s very easy to use and you can send these selfies to any one of your Facebook friends, which is generally a much larger number of people than your snapchat friends. It has all the features that Snapchat provides such as, text, drawing, special effects, stickers, and emojis, while also including a few very useful and unique features. One of the coolest ones is that it allows you to essentially take your picture in the reverse order you would with a snapchat. By this, I mean that before you even take the photo you can place text, drawings, and stickers on the screen and then pose with the special effects as you please. It’s a very cool feature that I believe snapchat may implement in a future update if it catches on with the Facebook messenger app. The messenger update also allows you to set a Facebook messenger story that’s different from your standard Facebook status, but it allows you to tell your friends on messenger what you are doing and they expire after 24 hours. Even though you have access to sending these pictures to all of your Facebook friends, the benefit of the messenger stories is that Facebook only makes them available to people that you have consistent activity with. Therefore, some random kid that was in your history class in high school that you haven’t seen in 7 years isn’t going to be seeing all of your stories. The point of this was to make it a little different than the way Facebook itself is organized. Facebook, in many ways, is about seeing what a large volume of people are doing; Facebook Messenger, however, is allowing you to converse with the right people, and it’s much less about the volume. Facebook’s algorithms know who you interact and converse with more than any other social media platform so this feature is very advantageous to Facebook because it makes sure that only the people who you would want to view this have access to it.

messenger

One way that Facebook is hoping that this feature on messenger becomes popular is by having it largely adopted by non-millennials.   Snapchat is so widely used by the younger generation that Facebook knows it is going to be a huge long shot for them to completely take over Snapchat with messenger feature. However, older generations of adults are typically Facebook users and do not have snapchat accounts. Because of this, Facebook has the opportunity to introduce this picture feature to them through their Facebook messenger app in hopes that they like this feature and continue to use the app to converse with Facebook friends.

Old-person-Snapchat

snapchat-isnt-for-adults

Ultimately, Facebook is hoping that their messenger app becomes a prevalent way for people to text with one another, much like iMessage, Groupme, or WhatsApp. By adding these new features to the Messenger app, they are hoping to outpace this competition by making their texting platform more real time and visual. When Instagram initially introduced their stories I thought it would never catch on and that it was rather annoying to have at the top of the feed. I was very wrong about that because they have become very popular and I look through them now everyday. It will be interesting to see how this new feature catches on for Facebook and whether this can help them take revenue and users from Snapchat.

11 comments

  1. That’s interesting that Facebook would allow a 24-hour story to only be viewed by your Facebook friends with whom you are most active. I’ve been wondering when Facebook would start to place your friends in tiers (i.e. separating your friends from a history class in high school from your best friends) aside from just generating more content on newsfeed from your friends with whom you interact the most. It would be interesting to see if they even name the different levels of friends one day, too! As for the Snapchat Specs – I saw a friend was using one and messaged him to say I couldn’t believe he bought them and he responded that he got them for free. Seems like they aren’t that much of a hit if they are already being given away!

  2. This was a very interesting blog post. I think Facebook is a real threat to Snapchat, and the recent innovative qualities Facebook has introduced in their messenger app can pose a huge threat to Snapchat. I found it interesting that the new messenger app is seeking top target and older demographic. This could be a good start to bring people on board and slowly challenge Snapchat. It was just a matter of time before Facebook launched something of this nature. Facebook has the size and strength to outpace Snapchat and I think it will be interesting to see how the two companies innovate and challenge each other.

  3. A compelling read about the connection between Facebook and Snapchat given the rise of ephemeral picture use. I read recently that 150 million people use Instagram Stories daily (which is nearly the size of Snapchat’s total user base) — evidence that Snap stories may need more than smaller innovations (such as reverse order features) to maintain a strong user base. Going forward, it will be interesting to get a better sense for how Facebook’s algorithm decides who a user’s top tier friends are that are worthy of seeing these temporary posts, and how Facebook will accommodate users that want to push ephemeral picture content to friends beyond their closest circle of engagement.

  4. Great post! I actually just posted on Twitter about this Facebook Messenger tool. A friend from Facebook let me use her phone this past weekend to try out the new messenger features because it had all of the pre-release filters (about 20 instead of the 5ish currently in the app). Based on what I got to see, this messenger tool will put a large amount of pressure on Snapchat. It will be interesting to see how Snapchat responds once Facebook builds up the filter library.

  5. Great article! Halfway through reading this article I updated my own messenger app just to see the feature for myself and I’m skeptical of whether or not people would actually switch over to Facebook for something like this, but it’ll definitely pose a problem. In my experience, people really only use Messenger when they don’t otherwise have imessage/text abilities due to lack of service, so I’m not sure adding this feature will really compel people to leave Snapchat just yet. One of the benefits of companies like Facebook implementing this feature on Messenger & on Instagram, however, is that they’ll likely push Snapchat to add new features like the ability to draw/sticker/etc. & then take the picture that they otherwise may not have thought of.

    I couldn’t really figure out the stories feature but I’m also really curious to see what the algorithim for determining who can see stories will look like and if users will have the opportunity to edit that. I know the people I interact with consistently on Facebook messenger is really not that reflective to my closest circle of friends, just those I don’t have the ability to text. If they include interaction within other parts of the Facebook app, however, it could be more accurate. I’m really interested to see how users would respond to this “limitation” too–is it helpful or annoying?

  6. Great post! Facebook really seems to thrive on the concept of doing a better version of what other people have tried to do. The original idea for Facebook was not new, rather, it had been tried (unsuccessfully) several times before. In fact, many innovations throughout Facebook’s history have been improving upon an idea from a competitor. Some people think that Facebook’s competition may give them a run for their money, but I think the more competition they face, the better they will do. If Facebook ever does fail, it will be because they have run out of competition to crush.

  7. Wow I wasn’t aware about this new Facebook Messenger feature, so this was a very interesting article to read! I just wrote my blog post about how people are constantly sharing content across various social media platforms with their “friends,” when in reality they really don’t know these people that well. I think it is a good move by Facebook to allow for a way to connect with the people you interact with the most (most likely your close friends and family), sharing things with them that you probably wouldn’t show to acquaintances. This feature definitely puts Snapchat at a competitive loss since Facebook overall just has more to offer. I wonder how Snapchat will react to this.

  8. You make a great point about targeting an older demographic with this new Snapchat-like feature, I haven’t thought of that! They have added a similar feature in WhatsApp (it’s owned by Facebook) and it’s called WhatsApp status that allows you to add posts in a story like manner for 24 hours. I’m assuming with that one they are trying to target a more international audience that is typical for WhatsApp.

    I also find it interesting that they choose to roll out the same technology in all the platforms they own and I wonder if their aim in the future is to consolidate some, if not all, of them. While I like and actively use Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram, each serves a different purpose and I personally find these new features very redundant and not useful at all (with the exception of Instagram stories). And with the Messenger app getting more and more crowded and complex with its UI, it’s starting to lose a lot of its appeal for me as well.

  9. I think Annie brought up a great point about putting friends on Facebook in tiers. I never really thought about this prior to your comment. Myspace used to do this with their top “8” friends list. It would be interesting to see with all the intelligence that Facebook uses how they would come up with a system like this. I have close friends that I do not communicate with frequently on Facebook that I would still like to keep in contact with via social media.

  10. Nice post. I bet we’ll end up talking about some of these issues in class, as they appear relatively popular on the Twitter feed too.

  11. Great post. As personal branding on social media becomes more important, people prefer to have their content uploaded for only 24 hours. We change a lot with time and we do not want our previous self to hurt our career with an inappropriate post or comment. This is precisely why more users are adopting platforms where the content will delete itself promptly. Even though Snapchat has already captivated the market for young adults, I can see how elder generations are going to be more comfortable with the Messenger app than with Snapchat. In my personal opinion, I would prefer that only one platform kept this feature since it is becoming overwhelming to check stories from three different sources.

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