I guess you know you have a good thing going when others try to take elements of what you are doing and reproduce it on their own platforms. Well clearly both Facebook and Twitter can see what is going on right now with Snapchat. In case you may have missed me rambling on non stop over the past couple of months, Snapchat is blowing up – particularly in Ireland.
As a result, Facebook and Twitter are both trying to take certain elements of what Snapchat is doing and incorporate them into their own platforms.
Snapchat has been slamming Twitter recently passing them in daily usage numbers. Last week, they announced that they were going to be rolling out big changes to video.
Video is huge, and is only going to get bigger so get used to pointing a camera in front of your face at some point (I am only really getting used to this in the past week or so on Snapchat!). Video is no longer ‘getting big’…it is now big. In response, Twitter is upping the limit of 30 second videos to 140 seconds and the limit of 6 seconds in Vine is also being changed too.
Vine’s videos will still be 6 seconds long but you will be also able to add 140 second clips in Vine too. However Twitter has also announced this week that they will be rolling out stickers.
If you use Snapchat you will know what I am talking about here, because Twitter’s stickers and the implementation is basically a copy of what you do on Snapchat right now. Stickers are tiny drawings or symbols which you can put on your photos before tweeting them, the stickers on Twitter may be different but the implementation is the exact same.
You can adjust the size and placement on the photos. Interestingly is that Twitter’s stickers will act as a visual hashtag so you can tap on a photo and then run a search on that sticker across Twitter to see how other people are using it.
Stickers first started out really on Facebook but never took off so much. When they were introduced to Snapchat users went wild for them so there is no reason why they can’t find similar success on Twitter. It is a direct aim from the social network at trying to attract a younger generation.
Facebook has serious FOMO (fear of missing out) when it comes to Snapchat. They tried to buy the company for $3 billion and when that failed they decided to release their own Snapchat replica app which was called Slingshot.
Slingshot crashed and burned before being pulled by Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg is where he is for a reason, he knows that he needs to have the next big thing. The easiest way would have been to buy the next big thing but that didn’t work so now they have to try figure it out on their own platforms.
Slingshot didn’t work but they haven’t stopped trying. There has been multiple Facebook feature rumours which smell of Snapchat. Currently they are testing a new option for when you create a status update where you can hide your update from your timeline and only have it appear in news feed and search.
The idea is that you are no longer tied to your timeline and the hope is that you will share more random menial thoughts which we currently do on Twitter and Snapchat.
Now Facebook wants to encourage you to tell a story and this week they announced ‘Slideshow’ which allows users of the iPhone app to easily create and share memories so that they can tell a story.
If Facebook users have taken more than five photos or videos the app will stitch them together and display them at the top of the news feed. You can then choose a title and integrate with a slideshow theme. The idea resembles that of Snapchat stories except for the fact that Snapchat clips auto delete after 24 hours.
Facebook has spurned the most initiatives to try replicate Snapchat. Ready for this? Here we go.
In September 2014 after Slingshot, they tried to implement the ability to set dates for statuses to disappear after a set period of time. Facebook say they only tested this on a small scale, it was never rolled out to all users.
In October 2015, Facebook released photo editing which allowed users to swipe to add filters, position text and emoji and draw in different colours on your photo. Again, it proved to be pretty unpopular.
In March 2016, they released face altering filters which alter the shape of your face and the theme of the photo. Again, a very popular feature of Snapchat which has been around for some time. Facebook also acquired an app which makes animated filters and face altering filters called MSQRD.
Finally, April 2016, Facebook introduced scannable codes for messenger and it works in the exact same way your Snapcodes work. You simply scan the code with your camera on your phone and you will be prompted to add or send a message to that person.
Facebook and Twitter need to figure themselves out
Facebook and Twitter are both in very different positions but with a common need and that is to figure themselves out. Stop trying to be like Snapchat with every single new feature.
Facebook is its own monster so it gives them the chance to test out all kinds of Snapchat like features to try find something which works. However, Twitter is in a more perilous position where they are desperately trying to grow. As a result, every move they make, every feature they release is scrutinised.
There is nothing wrong with “borrowing” from competitors in this market, however certainly in the case of Facebook you have to wonder just how much they are willing to try and replicate so they can get a piece of the pie themselves.
What I want more than anything else is for Twitter to try be Twitter and Facebook to try be Facebook. It is up to them to figure it out.