Another week, another article to review a new Snap Inc. update. Technology progresses quickly. Snap Inc. progresses at the speed of light. This week’s Snap Inc. review is about the ability to now share Snapchat stories with friends. While this is a seemingly simple update, it makes Snapchat-spurred drama that much easier for its users.
Users used to be able to post a Snapchat to their stories, which is a timeline anyone they were “Snap friends” with could view. The content lived on the person who posted its timeline, and it could not be shared beyond that. To put this in simple terms: if Alyssa wanted Lizzy to see what their friend Joe was posting to his story so that they could gossip about it, Alyssa would have to tell Lizzy to go onto the app and find Joe’s Snap story on her timeline.
Users now have the ability to share the stories of their friends amongst each other. Instead of Alyssa telling Lizzy to go look at Joe’s story, Alyssa can send Joe’s story directly to Lizzy, so that they can easily reference the story while gossiping about it. This is kind of like the “share” button on Facebook, except for it’s secretly sharing other people’s stories. Users can skip the step of telling a friend to log on and find someone’s story, and they can now comment back and forth on the story within the comfort of their own inbox. All the user must do is tap and hold the snap story to bring up the share screen.
While this update has certainly given Snap Inc. users more ways to interact with the content on the platform, I can’t think of many reasons why it was created other than to give users the ability to comment on stories amongst one another. There is no “group chat” feature on Snap Inc., so unless a user is sending a message to the person who posted the story, they would inherently be commenting on a user’s story behind his or her back by utilizing this new feature.
It may seem as if I am viewing this new feature very cynically, which I am. However, it must be remembered that Snap Inc.’s user base are teenagers and millennials. Being a teenager was hard enough without all of this technology to aid in bullying and gossiping efforts. Updates like this one on Snap Inc. make it that much easier for teenagers to gossip about one another. It would be incredibly hard to refrain from making fun of others or gossiping with friends when it is only a few buttons on your smartphone away.
Conceptually I love the ease of access Snap Inc. has now given its users with the story-share feature. In practice though, I think this feature opens users up to the ability to use the app for negative commentary about friends’ posts and bullying. There are positives and negatives to almost every feature on social media platforms, however this time I think the bad may outweigh the good.