Snapchat Just Pulled A Rope-A-Dope On Twitter

Snapchat Just Pulled A Rope-A-Dope On Twitter

Shane BarnhillFriday,29 August 2014

The Snap:

Snapchat has pushed an important new app update today — one that frames it as a more direct competitor to Twitter. The update expands the reach of the company’s Our Story feature, according to a post on Snapchat’s blog: “Today we’re expanding our favorite new product – Our Story – to cover more live events!” In the post, the company goes on to explain that Shapchatters will now be “able to experience Stories contributed by the Snapchat community at all sorts of events. It’s a great way to check out what’s happening around the world” (emphasis mine).

The Download:

The thing is, Twitter is the real time home of what’s happening right now. Even though messaging apps — especially Asian apps like WeChat and Line — are growing faster than Twitter and gaining larger user bases, Twitter is still the king of live events. It’s where people around the world go to not only discuss, but also to follow the conversations about award shows, sporting events and more — as they happen. Facebook is trying to make a play in this space with its Trending Topics feature, but this effort hasn’t yet catapulted them ahead of Twitter as the default home of real time conversations (and frankly, some of Facebook’s attempts at being part of the conversation around live events have been downright embarrassments).

Speaking of Facebook, Snapchat has long been billed as company’s most direct threat, at least in the United States, and Facebook has released not one, but two apps — Poke and Slingshot — geared toward siphoning away Snapchat’s coveted user base. The Social Network even tried to acquire Snapchat to extinguish an emerging threat, just as it did with both Instagram and WhatsApp. But all this time, it looks like Snapchat may have been targeting Twitter instead of Facebook.

And here’s why: by focusing its efforts — and future monetization plans — on live events, Snapchat is taking aim at Twitter’s unique advantage, but in a way that Twitter will struggle to compete against effectively. Twitter’s move away from its roots as a short form, text-based messaging channel has required a sort of “feature creep” that incorporates more rich media experiences at the expense of brevity. Ironically, brevity is exactly where Snapchat is throwing its best punch at Twitter. The new Live section strings together a series of brief Snaps from users on the ground at an event into a visual timeline that Twitter can’t match. Sure, Twitter users can search for a hashtag, click on it, and then click to expand or launch media embeds within tweets related to events. But this now feels like work compared to the fluid, dead simple experience of a simple thumb press to watch a video of related Snaps from an event.

Scrolling through a series of tweets from an event feels a bit tiring after Snapchat’s latest update. It’s like reading a book that is longer than it needs to be, whereas Snapchat’s Our Stories from events is more of a movie-like experience. And you know what beats the pants off of book revenues? Movies.

Advantage: Snapchat. If the young company does a good job rolling out the new Live feature, it may just steal Twitter’s title as the Real Time Champion Of The World, and all this time, Twitter had no idea that Snapchat was just leaning against the ropes, waiting for it to get tired.

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Hat Tips:

Snapchat Blog, TechCrunch, Image Credit: Flickr*


*converted to black and white, logos added

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