So I opened up messenger on my phone the other day and I noticed something new. There was a new at the top. ‘My Day’. WTF. Given the fact that a week later, none of my friends had posted a ‘My Day’ video, I gather that ‘WTF’ was the general consensus.
But seriously, Facebook. WTF?
I mean, Snapchat’s been doing the Story thing for a while now, and they’re pretty good at it. Not to mention, you JUST launched ‘Stories’ on Instagram, so this looks suspiciously like over saturating the market. Also, I don’t know if anyone’s noticed, but it’s quite literally the exact same thing as what Snapchat and Instagram have going on. You post photos and videos and they self-destruct after 24 hours. You can add filters and doodles and cute little emojis to the images. They each get 10 seconds play time. Same. Damn. Thing.
To be fair, ‘My Day’ is technically just being tested. It’s only available to some Australian users and the populations of Poland, Hungary and Slovakia. We get the dubious honour of being its first English-speaking market. The change isn’t even available on Facebook proper.
This might be fairly obvious but I don’t like it. I don’t really get it. We don’t need another app for this, do we? Surely this is overkill. And worse, the whole thing reeks of desperation. Snapchat is hugely popular with the younger market; something like 60% of its users are under 24. If you ask me, it looks like Facebook is trying to entirely monopolise the market.
And the evidence for this is stacking up.
Facebook tried to purchase Snap Inc (the company formerly known as Snapchat) for $3 billion in 2013, they attempted a disappearing message system in France last year, and launched ‘Instant Video’ on Messenger this year. Oh yeah, and they completely copied ‘My Story’ on Instagram (to reiterate: Facebook owns Instagram). It’s beginning to look pretty dire indeed.
It’s not like Facebook is in any danger of falling redundant. How else would we get our news, sell our used bikes or stalk our exes? Rather than trying to muscle in on an app that fits like a round hole to Facebook’s square peg, Facebook should be focusing on what it does best – news, bikes, and okay probably not exes. Facebook is indispensable because it’s Facebook; it connects users to one another and to the world around them. Rather than offering another means of connection in an over-saturated market, Facebook should be trying to make the connection easier. Neither Facebook nor Snapchat are going anywhere, and if it’s page visits Facebook wants, they can achieve the same outcome by simply making it easier for users to share their posts to other social media platforms on their Facebook page or with friends via Facebook or messenger.
We’re living more and more in the sharing economy, so perhaps it’s time for Facebook and Snapchat to share the love. Making it easy to share photos and videos across platforms seems to be the natural next step.