"slingshot" proves Facebook still doesn’t understand photo messaging apps
Yesterday, Facebook published a new app called “Slingshot,” which is their second attempt at the photo messaging industry that Snapchat currently dominates. After the failure of Poke (which none of my friends knew even existed), they’re at it again with a supposedly “unique” take on ephemeral photo sharing.
In Slingshot, the only way to view the photos your friends share with you is to send a photo to them first. “Reply to Unlock,” it’s called. Witty and results in a great amount of content, right? Wrong. It’s direct evidence that Facebook still does not understand what they’re getting into.
Snapchat and its comparable competitors are messaging platforms at their core, not photo sharing applications. Yes, Snapchat just added their Stories feature which allows you to send out photos indiscriminately and indirectly to all of your friends. However, the core use case for Snapchat is a messaging platform - keeping in contact with your friends or even holding full-on conversations. Evidence of this core direction includes the new video chatting service, which is an extension of messaging.
Slingshot, on the other hand, sees Snapchat as a photo sharing competitor just like Instagram or even Facebook’s built-in Photos service. When you log in to Facebook, you can see a bunch of pictures that your friends posted with you not in mind.
The “Reply to Unlock” requires you to send a message before even seeing what the other person sent. This is the messaging platform best suited for psychics. Have you ever had a conversation with someone and answered their question or replied to them before they even said anything? Didn’t think so.
Snapchat is succeeding and will continue to succeed in this new breed of messaging applications. Replying to a photo message after you receive one is the natural experience.
Can you imagine if you had to post content to Facebook.com before you could go through your News Feed of items that people posted without truly thinking of you or wondering if you really cared about the content? That’s the approach that Slingshot is taking. It’s bound to fail due to, once again, Facebook’s lack of ability to grasp the true characteristics of Snapchat’s industry and even the category (photo messaging) that Snapchat sits in.