#snapchat

Going Against The Grain

When talking to entrepreneurs at the very early stages of their companies, I’ve noticed that there’s a tendency to give a fairly long product roadmap. “And then we’ll add this. And then this. And then this.” That type of thing.

And I think that’s fine; it’s good to be thinking ahead, and it’s even better to have a vision for where you want the product to go. But it’s just as important to be realistic. And the likelihood of things going exactly to plan from day one is basically zero.

But that’s all obvious. What may not be so obvious is what happens when a product actually hits, takes off, and establishes itself. Because it feels like there’s a trend emerging here, at least in the world of apps, that is worth noting.

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Jenna Wortham on the rise of Snapchat-esque communication for The New York Times:

These applications are the opposite of groomed; they practically require imperfection, a sloppiness and a grittiness that conveys a sense of realness, something I’ve been craving in my communication. They transform the screen of your phone into a window into the life of your friend, wherever they are at that exact moment.

This is actually the most interesting element of these applications to me as well, the real-time nature of them. I often think about the day when you can hit a button and get a view into a friend’s world at that exact moment from their phone or Google Glass or whatever. To some that will sound incredibly creepy, but there are ways to do it and this all seems like a step in that direction.

Brian X. Chen for The New York Times:

I get some messages from other friends that promptly disappear as well. Most of them say something along the lines of, “What is the point of this?” or “This is so weird.”

Sounds exactly like people talking about Twitter five years ago. And basically every eventual breakout tech product. If it was obvious, it would be obvious.

I still not sure about the long-term prospects of Snapchat/Poke, but that’s exactly why these things interest me. Discount natural user behavior at your own peril.

Dustin Curtis makes a compelling case for Snapchat:

Since using that early prototype of Treehouse, I’ve been wanting something that replicated the feeling of using photos for communication, and nothing has come close. It seems that every photo sharing app ends up adding features like commenting, which destroys the fundamental value of the photos themselves; all photo sharing apps have regressed into apps for artistic expression.

Until Snapchat, which has captured the essence of using photos as communication. Because it is completely ephemeral – and because the photos are deleted after 1-10 seconds – it’s impossible to use the photos for anything but communication. It’s an amazing app, and its popularity is just a hint of how I think we’ll use photos in the future.

As a fellow early user/fan of Treehouse, I find this parallel fascinating. It could be one of those unfortunate situations where Treehouse was simply too early for its own good.

I actually believe that a large part of Instagram’s success has been that it turned photography into a universal “language”. But I think there’s something to the idea that Instagram is more of a language spoken through a megaphone rather than a back-and-forth communication. Snapchat/Poke and the rest are getting us there.

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Facebook’s Snapchat competitor is called “Poke,” confirming what we already knew: The word “Poke” is innuendo for sexy time.

Fascinating just how close to Snapchat it actually is. 

There’s no question that the UI/UX is better here, but I’m not sure how much that will actually matter with the teenage Snapchat demographic. Many teens seem to use apps that look and may even perform awful, but it doesn’t matter. All that matters is the graph — that their friends are using it. 

And you might think, “but everyone is on Facebook” — sure, but that also doesn’t matter if the use case is different. Maybe teens are using Snapchat specifically because it’s not Facebook. 

Anyway, I’m not going to pretend to really understand Snapchat anyway. Compelling social, fun idea (the self-destructing message) — but high potential to be faddish. But I’m sure I’m missing something. 

I’m more interested here in Facebook’s continued march to make stand-alone apps. This seems like it should be a part of the Messenger app, but it’s not. And the deep iOS integration makes this approach really shine (“Sign in as MG Siegler?”). 

I also can’t help but wonder if maybe this is a message from Facebook: don’t want to come work with us? Fine, we’ll clone your service in a couple weeks and ship it to a billion users.

At the very least, Poke is a fun attempt to make use of an old part of Facebook in a way that actually makes some sense in the modern, mobile world.

shortformblog:

Facebook’s Snapchat competitor is called “Poke,” confirming what we already knew: The word “Poke” is innuendo for sexy time.

Fascinating just how close to Snapchat it actually is.

There’s no question that the UI/UX is better here, but I’m not sure how much that will actually matter with the teenage Snapchat demographic. Many teens seem to use apps that look and may even perform awful, but it doesn’t matter. All that matters is the graph — that their friends are using it.

And you might think, “but everyone is on Facebook” — sure, but that also doesn’t matter if the use case is different. Maybe teens are using Snapchat specifically because it’s not Facebook.

Anyway, I’m not going to pretend to really understand Snapchat anyway. Compelling social, fun idea (the self-destructing message) — but high potential to be faddish. But I’m sure I’m missing something.

I’m more interested here in Facebook’s continued march to make stand-alone apps. This seems like it should be a part of the Messenger app, but it’s not. And the deep iOS integration makes this approach really shine (“Sign in as MG Siegler?”).

I also can’t help but wonder if maybe this is a message from Facebook: don’t want to come work with us? Fine, we’ll clone your service in a couple weeks and ship it to a billion users.

At the very least, Poke is a fun attempt to make use of an old part of Facebook in a way that actually makes some sense in the modern, mobile world.