Last week, many users of both iPhone and Android models were greeted with a new update for the well known and very popular messenger app, Snapchat. This update was more than simple bug fixes and adjustments, and different to an addition of a new feature like Bitmoji, Maps and Memories, which have all been added in the last few years.
This update, in my eyes, was a complete reimagination of what Snapchat aspire to be as an app. They want to move away from being just a messenger app and instead be seen as a fully fledged social network, a competitor to Instagram, and to a lesser extent, Facebook and Twitter.
The main changes are listed below:
- The stories are on the left side of the camera now, instead of the right.
- The right side is now exclusively public stories. These are made up of people that you have added and haven’t added you back, such as celebrities, YouTubers or anyone who has their settings on public. It also has commercial stories such as the Washington Post, Daily Mail and BuzzFeed News.
- An update to the Bitmoji platform, where the user can take a selfie and it is automatically translated into a matching avatar.
- Your Story is now located on the top left of your camera screen when it used to be at the top of your stories list.
- Some minor cosmetic changes to the UI to make it more user-friendly.
- Minor changes to the Video Calling Console
In all, people were not happy about it. Twitter exploded, with its users filled with rage over something that doesn’t really affect them (surprisingly enough).
Below are some tweets that users expressed.
my phone on auto update and now I feel the same way what other people think about the snapchat update pic.twitter.com/PNA4CYZcIn
— Chesca Rivera (@cheesecarivera) February 13, 2018
no chronological order, people i don’t have added on my snap, news feeds i don’t want to see, stories page killed. it’s official #SnapchatIsOverParty
— deanie (@bbydeanie) February 7, 2018
Dear Snapchat… if it’s not broke don’t fix it. #GoodbyeSnapChat
— Eddie Rovnak (@MentalSavage35) February 11, 2018
There are also multiple YouTube videos, with their makers filled with anger and hatred at this minor redesign and someone had even gone to the effort of starting a Change.org petition about it, and this petition is currently at 1.13 Million signees. If you feel strongly enough about this topic, you can also sign this petition.
Unsurprisingly for a multibillion-dollar company with millions of users, hundreds of advertisers and active in most countries in the world, Snap inc have been relatively quiet about this. Social Media is awash with fake responses generated by users pretending to be Snapchat, but Evan Spiegel, CEO of Snap inc has said Snap aims to try to separate the idea of communication and broadcasting with Snap into similar buckets, rather than the features being kind of mixed up (like Stories being on a right swipe).
Although it will take some getting used to, I do believe that the update is here to stay, I’m happy to accept that and will continue using the application as normal. Snapchat is just trying to modernise and make their application bigger and with more use cases. The Snapchat platform is so much bigger than it was even two years ago, it contains so much more content and this means it has all been clustered together, but Snapchat is trying to separate the different parts of it so that when a new user signs up, they will find it much easier to use.