Two days ago a very popular phone app, Snapchat, came out with a new update. No big deal, right? Applications come out with new updates all the time, usually with a minor tweak or two. However this change came with major love, major backlash and caused a viral stir.
If you aren’t familiar with Snapchat, it’s an application where one can send a picture or video to a friend for up to ten seconds before it vanishes into thin air. But be careful, there are the occasional “screenshots” that can happen if the user on the other end of the “snap” is quick enough to press a few buttons. One can also send “Stories,” which are public pictures or videos sent to everyone in their Snapchat contact list for only 24 hours.
The love: Snapchat’s main feature from the update is Snapchat Discover, which allows users to explore “Stories” (news content) from different editorial teams, ranging from Cosmopolitan to National Geographic. Due to the variety of news outlets available, there is definitely something for everyone. Every 24 hours a new edition comes out, including full screen photos and videos, flawless advertising and beautiful long form layouts. Think of this feature as a mini magazine or newscast on the go, with new editions everyday.
The backlash: Before the update, Snapchat had a feature called “Best Friends.” This allowed users to view the top three users with whom another friend exchanged pictures with. The names on this list were determined by the number of times messages were exchanged with a particular friend. This provided public insight as to who was talking to who in one’s contact list. Many people used this for virtual stalking. After the update, this all disappeared. No one was able to see which friends were messaging each other, and it made everyone very upset.
The viral stir: After people realized the best friend feature was removed, they took their comments to social media.
Due to high demand and the stir that was caused from removing “best friends,” Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegal announced the feature will come back in the next update. This just goes to show the power of social media and how much of an influence it can really make.