Snapchat is a social app for mobile devices which enables users to ‘snap’ a photograph of themselves and their friends will see it for 1 to 10 seconds before it vanishes (unless someone takes a screenshot). It is not as popular as Facebook among 18-34 year-old people, but it is still the third-most popular, under Facebook and Instagram.
Facebook released two apps which are apparent competitors to Snapchat: Slingshot and Camera. They also purchased Instagram. None of them enjoyed the success that Snapchat does among undergraduates. Of the following apps, Snapchat is by far the most popular among undergraduates with a relative usage frequency of 70% (However, if they had to choose only one social network, it would be Facebook):
- Twitter: 46%.
- Facebook: 11%.
- Instagram: 10%.
NB: The overall dominance of Facebook compared to Snapchat and Instagram may be the fact that Facebook is the only one of the three which works on both desktop computers and mobile devices.
Clearly, photography has gotten very popular, and this hints at a concern for privacy (I expounded on this below).
Why Is It So Difficult For Facebook To Compete With Snapchat?
Students who participated in a survey said that they feel as if they had the least privacy on Facebook, and the most privacy on Snapchat. This may be due to the fact that Snapchat photos disappear within 10 seconds, it (in my opinion) also contradicts the theory that people don’t care about their privacy. People are concerned about many things, but they don’t always speak up about it.
Does Facebook want to implement the disappearing feature that Snapchat has? I don’t think they do. Their CEO Mark Zuckerberg did offer to purchase Snapchat for $3 billion USD, but Evan Spiegel, the CEO of Snapchat rejected that.
What do you think would have happened to Snapchat if Facebook purchased it? Did they want to shut it down or generate revenue with it? Another question is: Would they have removed the disappearing feature? It appears that the disappearing feature is instrumental to Snapchat’s popularity.
When it comes down to mobile technology (as well as many other kinds of technology), execution is everything.