Superfluouschat: Why No One Cares About the Snapchat Update

You might have seen our post last week on the Snapchat update that added texting and real-time video chatting to the self-destructing media app. The new features were added to compete with other text-based apps like Facebook’s Whatsapp and the secret Confide app. But the question remains, are they needed? And furthermore, do Snapchat users even care?

With all of these avenues for taking pictures, sending text messages, and having realtime video conversations with friends and family, does Snapchat’s update really add anything for us? I get it, copycats and beating a dead horse is the way of the digital age, but at some point superfluous contact has to become obsolete. Something has to give, and I believe it’s Snapchat.

The new frills seem innovative, but if you’re like me, you’re probably already stretched thin on social media application use. Let’s count the text-based tools the average DC resident may use on a daily basis, shall we? Facebook Messenger, Google Talk, SMS, Whatsapp. That’s four ways to communicate via text and now Snapchat wants in. Do you have the time or space for this superfluous infiltrator?  And how many of us really like to video chat? If you do, it’s likely between a few close friends and family who are already set with Skype, Google Hangouts, or Apple’s Facetime.

In addition, my experiences with the app thus far have been laggy or glitchy (on Android), at best. Real time video is a bit of a joke (signal depending) and friend requests still aren’t even seen immediately. Also, being that Snapchat is something many tend to do at work or on the go, anything beyond sending quick snaps or videos make the point of texting and videochatting completely moot. I asked several people about their own thoughts on the update to see how they matched up..

 DC resident Kate Burdekin said, “I love snapchat! I can send a photo to my friends of my stapler with googly eyes or a friend dancing in a moose suit. Snapchat should stick to what it knows; videos of your friends not good enough for Vine or YouTube.”

“I use the chat feature all the time and find notifications pretty responsive (iPhone user). It even tells you when people are typing. I find it useful because sometimes [snaps] turns into a conversation, and I don’t feel like switching between a bunch of apps,” said Alex Marit, an IT Support Specialist.

“I’ve used the chat function a couple times, but push notifications aren’t super responsive, so it doesn’t act in real time. It kind of defeats the purpose,” said Francisco Brady, a Howard University student.
At the end of the day, I think Snapchat does have room for growth, but it’s going to be a tough market when the social media market is already a packed room.  But we’re also interested in what you think. Do you have the time for Snapchat’s new features, or have they simply gone unnoticed?