Snapchat: get over your self(ie)
Miko Malabute | Wednesday, September 16, 2015
Over the past couple of days, one would be hard-pressed to not notice the new update that Snapchat recently rolled out. Across everyone’s feed, people watched themselves vomiting rainbows while their eyes popped out to unhealthy proportions. With every release of something “new,” there’s bound to be an initially strong response, even if it’s not necessarily good — just think back to the two sequels in the “Hangover” film series.
At the risk of sounding like the old man on campus: when is enough, in fact, enough? I was keeping up with Snapchat, albeit struggling to maintain pace, when the social media app first came up big on campus. I fully supported it when there were complaints of shallow social interactions for a supposed social media app. I defended it when they introduced the “chat” function to an app that made its bread and butter on hastily captured pictures being sent back and forth. I even, some how some way, justified the reasoning behind “Snapcash,” the ability for users to send money (in a nutshell, this seemed to me a business response to the emergence of the payment-sharing app, Venmo).
But this is where I draw the line. This reminded me of the tragic moment when Facebook became “uncool.” That moment came on the verge of endless layout changes and confusing innovations that only served to make their long-time users only more confounded and left asking — why fix what wasn’t broken?
There’s something to be said about change to freshen up a stale product. After all, some people are quite cognizant about how a certain leading multimedia technology company allegedly rehashes existing, old products, repackaging them and promoting them as the newest thing on the market. And the thing about it is, these people are the same ones who get in line on the first day to purchase these “new” products.
With that said, this model does not work with Snapchat. The thing that drew people to Snapchat was its ability to share with friends instantaneously — and only temporarily — what was going on with and around them. Every picture and video they shared was novel, because everyday people were doing something different; no one has the same day twice (save for Bill Murray in “Groundhog Day”). Yet this need to add in video effects only serves to make a mockery of their users, as if we were a group of over 200 million five year-olds that need to be entertained with bright lights and flashy images. There’s no need to fix what isn’t broken — otherwise Snapchat might simply be the very ghost for which its logo is so well-known.
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.