Social Media Tech

The Snapchat bandaid

Hold it vertical! (image via Samuel Zeller)

Just make it look like a Snapchat. All social networks are becoming extensions of Snapchat, a medium that once stood on its own.

Snapchat introduced the next text messaging obsession: video consumption. Now, Instagram, Facebook, and WhatsApp all have skin in the mobile messaging video game. YouTube is also trying to become more interactive and personal.

People don’t necessarily love Snapchat. They love the idea of Snapchat because it serves a desire for quick and raw ephemeral sharing. Snapchat is a delivery system, just as we associate fast shipping with Amazon Prime. That’s why it’s easy for other networks to replicate Snapchat’s modern features and the ride the wave of mainstream smartphone instant communication. However, it’s not so easy to compete against a market leader. There’s no evidence to suggest that the emergence of Instagram Stories have crimped the use of Snapchat.

But when others copy your style, you pivot. Snapchat is wise to pivot into hardware with Spectacles, a more useful social version of Google Glass that intends to record moments rather than act as a computer for the eyes. It’s no surprise that Apple is considering making its own pair.

At first, they ridicule you; then, they emulate what you do. Snapchat was once a different medium. But now that its features are expectations, can it keep its platform fun enough to hang on to the fickle smartphone user?

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By Wells Baum

Wells Baum is a daily blogger who writes about Life & Arts. He's also the author of and four books.