When you think of social media giants, who are the companies which come to mind?
No doubt Facebook is top of the list. They are a global behemoth whose success is unlikely to be matched by any other social media company in the next twenty years. Snapchat is also somewhere on your list – with it being the second most popular app (having recently surpassed Twitter by around 15 million users).
However, there’s some obvious differences between the two platforms. Facebook is a much more all-encompassing social media page, with its viral videos, mass sharing of news articles, memes, links, secret groups and sharing of personal updates. It’s very much the central hub of connectivity anywhere on the internet. While it may seem that Facebook is more a place to get your news from these days, the algorithms which dictate the order of your news feed ensure that you see your friends’ updates first.
By contrast, Snapchat is a tool which encourages creativity. Immediately opening the app, the user is greeted with their camera in selfie mode. This isn’t an accident. This is Snapchat’s way of saying: share a moment of creativity with your friends, strangers and anyone else on your contacts list. It’s telling you to make something new – whether it’s a selfie with an overly-ridiculous filter or a picture of something quirky, it’s encouraging you to make something.
However, this is where Snapchat’s limitations come into play. While “visual” social media is currently the hottest thing out there, a lot of people don’t want to have this kind of pushy creativity forced on them. Instead, they simply want to consume. They want to see what their friends have been up to or enjoy a few snaps of their friends’ lives. The purpose of social media is to connect, however, Snapchat doesn’t really “connect” its users in the way Facebook offers.
It may be surprising to learn that the daily active user base of Facebook and Snapchat only overlaps by around 65%. This means that there around 35% of Snapchat users who can’t be reached via Facebook.
For a while, it seemed that Snapchat was on a trajectory to becoming just as popular as Facebook. However, in 2016, Facebook more or less stole Snapchat’s gimmick and used it in one of their new features. They introduced the option of sending short videos to your friends which are then deleted after 24 hours. They incorporated Snapchat’s fundamental idea, while at the same time maintaining their brand of connecting with friends.
It’s also important to address the varied demographics which Facebook caters to. For example, if people in their fifties or sixties are looking to connect with an old friend of theirs, the first social media hub they’ll be drawn to is Facebook. People who use Facebook to genuinely connect with friends, family or long lost relatives have no desire to send heavily filtered photographs to their followers; they’re simply looking for genuine connectivity. This, however, is an aspect of social media which Snapchat is yet to capitalize on. Therefore, it will struggle to reach the earth-shattering success of Facebook, at least until its platform evolves. The last frontier that snapchat can really beat Facebook is that pornstars have taken over snapchat, which is clear from the rise of popular pornstar snapchat site truesnaps.com
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