Hugely popular social media app, SnapChat is reportedly making two serious changes that could have a ton of impact.
According to a Reuters report, SnapChat is planning to make public stories last longer than 30 days or maybe, even become permanent. Now to be clear, public stories are SnapChat posts that are shareable outside of the app. Regular SnapChat posts will still disappear after 24 hours.
— Reuters (@Reuters) January 29, 2019
Snap is also considering going soft on user privacy and would reveal the identities of users who make public posts.
Known for its disappearing posts, videos and images, these updates fundamentally change how SnapChat works.
Launched in 2011, SnapChat grew quickly largely thanks to two features: disappearing posts and anonymity.
The app’s disappearing posts made it unique in a social media universe where years’ worth of user contents were freely available and harvested online. Also, while Facebook grew largely by connecting users with people they already knew, Snap’s support for anonymity was another important growth enabler.
According to Snap’s CEO, use of real identity has “taken all of the fun out of communicating” and millions of users who agree make up a substantial part of Snap’s user base.
Now SnapChat plans to do away with its two key features. Why?
SnapChat’s Struggle To Survive
The reported changes are key measures Snap aims to support its future growth with.
Snapchat is thinking of making some snaps permanent in an attempt to boost revenue https://t.co/wsNIcjl3MJ
— Business Insider (@BusinessInsider) January 28, 2019
After a few years of consistent growth, Snap has been in decline since 2017. Much of its decline is largely as a result of Facebook copying many of its features, particularly disappearing posts. However, another key reason why SnapChat has been in decline is its limited reach.
Meanwhile a significant portion of its content creators are news publishers. And news publishers prefer mediums that have more reach.
Yet, all SnapChat posts disappear eventually and this affects how users use it and what they expect from it. News publishers develop plenty of video and other contents for the platform, but don’t like sharing or embedding them anywhere else. Since these SnapChat posts disappear eventually, publishers prefer to embed a Twitter post into a news piece instead.
Snap implemented the public Stories to offset this, but 30 days is not a long time in today’s fast paced environment. So Snap is considering increasing this 30 day limit or even making public Stories permanently available.
From a business point of view, this makes more sense. But for users, it invariably skews up the idea behind SnapChat.
In a move to monetize content, @Snapchat considers what had once been the unthinkable: making posts permanent — or at least keeping them from disappearing for months or longer https://t.co/2h4QbMS7M7 pic.twitter.com/fC2cYrFjxh
— David Cherry (@DavidCherryNV) January 29, 2019
Additionally, the plan to reveal user identity is a significant concern in a post-Cambridge-Analytica world. Users and governments want social media apps to reveal less data about users not more. Snap had been a fan favourite thanks to anonymity, but now it is about to screw them over by reducing it.
How Will This Impact SnapChat?
SnapChat is already in decline and its user base is already sinking fast. This decline has hit its parent company’s market value as well. Since it peaked at $29.44 per share in 2017, Snap Inc’s share price now trades below $7.
That’s a huge fall and it explains why SnapChat is making serious changes to both its philosophy and model.
Investors may love if it brings the desirable outcome, but users may not. Once the new features are implemented, SnapChat becomes a less public version of Twitter. And this could hasten its decline because its uniqueness would would become questionable.
And with cash disappearing like its disappearing posts, if this doesn’t work out, SnapChat may not be around for much longer.
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