Updates on social media all fit one mold


Snapchat adds a messaging feature to the app in its latest update of May 1, but some students say that adding messaging takes away from the originality of the app. Photos from commons.wikimedia.org by free use.

Aria Frangos, Scot Scoop Editor

Integrating new features into an application can be a great idea, but when many companies start implementing the same new features, the originality of their services can be threatened.

Snapchat’s new update as of May 1 included many changes to the basic look of the app, as well as a new feature called Chat. It allows a text conversation to be held between two users with a swipe across their username in the inbox. If they are concurrently online, they can also share a live video feed.

Staying true to the self-destructive nature of Snapchat, the Chat conversation disappears when the users leave the screen unless they tap the messages to save them or take a screenshot.

Although it is an upgrade in the presence of conversation to be able to communicate more than the short fragments that Snapchats allow, many users are not satisfied with the change.

“I hate it,” said sophomore Pyper Hayden. “I don’t want to use messaging on Snapchat; that’s what texting is for. I tried to figure it [the update] out with a friend for an entire lunch period and all the changes are just too confusing.”

To start a conversation, a user swipes to the right on a friend’s username. The user can then send a chat message by typing in the text bar, or a Snapchat by pressing and holding the yellow icon in the bottom right of the screen if their friend is not online.

Video chat is only available when both friends are online, as signified by the yellow icon turning blue.

“I think the Chat features were cool additions to the app,” said freshman Kurt Castro. “It was pretty confusing at first, but after awhile I figured how to use it and I like it. However, I do think that by adding messaging they’re only fitting into a mold, not creating something new.”

Instagram is another application that has recently added messaging features. In early Dec. 2013, the application updated to include a service called Instagram Direct. It allows users to send a private video or picture to up to 15 friends, which was a new step for the previously public photo sharing network.

“Apps are all making themselves the same now, and losing their own identity,” said sophomore Colleen Castro. “Instagram has Direct messaging, and now Snapchat has Chat. That’s not what those applications are designed to do, and by adding the same kind of new features, they’re just losing the real idea of the app.”

While Instagram and Snapchat are adding messaging features, Facebook announced in April that they were planning on taking instant messaging away from their phone app. Instead, users will be required to download a separate messaging app to chat with their Facebook friends.

“I don’t use Instagram or Snapchat for conversations,” said Hayden, “Adding messaging features doesn’t really make any improvement. It just takes away from the original purpose of the app.”

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