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.
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.
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.
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.