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Why I Hate Snapchat

 

 

 

This is going to sound incredibly contradictive to my title, but I love Snapchat- I love it a lot.

Let me explain. Snapchat makes up a huge portion of my social media life. I send snaps constantly, share stories (as lame or irrelevant as they can be), I actually like the interaction from Bitmojis, and I even use their messaging system intensively. When Snap IPO’d, I bought around $1,000 worth of stock at $22/share. This was a hefty bit for someone just out of college, but I knew they were going to soar and blow investors away with all their great advertising capabilities and tools for brands to drive revenue growth so it was a no-brainer. Well, I sold my shares for $700 when a few months later I just couldn’t stand seeing report after report continue to tell me about how SNAP was continuing to drop and miss numbers, not by a little, but by A LOT, like by MILES.

 

It hurts me so much to write about this because Snapchat has so much potential. It’s so confusing as to why they don’t embrace things that can drive value for them (advertising, influencer measurement, open APIs) to innovate and push boundaries on things that drive user growth. Sure, Facebook and Instagram probably were sitting back on all these features waiting for the IPO to make sure they could beat Snap at their own game, but damn are they doing it well, and in some cases, even better than Snapchat is.

 

I bought a pair of Snapchat Spectacles at Ultra Music Festival Miami in March and, wow, for a first-generation-tech pair of glasses they’re great. The lenses are nice enough to feel high quality, the plastic is sturdy and weighty, and they don’t look too ridiculous (although pretentious might be another thing). However, as amazing as they were at that festival, I sit in an office for the majority of my weeks. Nobody really wants my 360-degree, 1080p snaps of me browsing my email and LinkedIn. So, when the weekend rolls around, I could use them when I do things like go to the park and play with my dog or even when I hit up a brewery with some friends, right? Ehhh, wrong. I don’t want to be that guy wearing these crazy glasses just so I can take a snapchat more easily. I may care too much about what other people think about me, but in the age of social media I can guarantee I’m not the only one.

The next thing that irks me is that even though Snapchat has been out for almost 6 years (September 2011, I just checked), it is still god-awful on Android. If you are using an iPhone you probably love the quality of pictures and don’t notice too much of an impact on battery, but on Android it absolutely massacres my battery life. It also doesn’t even use the camera. It takes a screenshot of what my camera sees without processing it through my amazing Nexus 6P camera. Can you not give a little love to Android users after 6 years? Please? Evan are you out there?!

 

As far as new ideas for Snapchat go, the new map feature is cool in theory, but all it does is tell my friends that my life is pretty. I can go look at happening spots, but in Atlanta it’s really just the Aquarium and maybe a concert or the pink trap house (ATL Rap is where it’s at). I don’t see much use for the feature and it seems to me more of a, hey you’re missing out on this than a useful feature I want to go look for things to do nearby, but maybe there are grander things in mind.

 

All in all, the race between Snapchat and Instagram is awesome in theory. I love seeing each other fighting to innovate faster and with better tech, but Instagram puts out amazing stuff to build communities of content and brand engagement whereas Snapchat just makes some cool new filters. The hotdog meme thing is funny (and extremely lucky that it blew up), but they’re going to push it too far (mark my words here) and their target audience is gonna hate it. I’m torn between my millennial love of Snapchat’s simplicity, their possibility of the future technologies and innovations in cameras, and simple messaging functionalities, and my professional-minded respect for Instagram’s long-game focus around giving the people who drive real money to the company the tools they need and want, brands.

Snapchat, I want to support you and love you so much, but damn, there’s a million warning lights flashing in front of you that you’re missing out on. I hope I’m just naïve and Evan Spiegel is fooling us all, but until then my investment money and faith is staying with Zuck’s consistency and his proven fluency to drive big dollars for his companies.