While most of us have experienced Snapchat’s new update, we certainly haven’t accepted it as a permanent measure. What ticked off most users is the fact that the download was automatic and occurred even though most people had their auto-updates turned off. When the update first rolled out, I wanted to give it the benefit of the doubt — after all, all of us have come to accept and get used to Facebook’s multiple changes over the years. However, the past two weeks are proof that the Snapchat update was a poor decision on behalf of the management — users are still confused by the functionality of the app, and have begun sharing their distaste by giving Snapchat a one-star rating on the App Store and Google Play. The negative feedback has been reflected in Citi Research’s decision to downgrade Snapchat to “sell” and offer its stock at a target price for $14 — a steep decrease from its current price of $20.
The recent update is rather unfortunate, given that Snapchat has increasingly become people’s main source of gathering quick information. Snapchat is by no means a comprehensive source of worldwide news, but the app certainly does a great job of covering the Olympics. While NBC has spent almost one billion dollars to secure the television rights to stream the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, the viewership numbers are faltering. After all, although millennials would like to remain in the know when it comes to the Olympics, we are unlikely to find time away from classes and jobs to settle down in front of a TV and consume the coverage in a traditional manner. Furthermore, almost none of my friends own a television set in college; all of us watch our TV shows on Netflix or stream major events on our laptops. Even though I haven’t once watched the Olympics on a television set, I have arguably stayed more in touch with the events than ever before, and it’s all thanks to Snapchat. With their mini-video widgets, you get a personalized view into the lives of the athletes, compared to the structured interviews seen on TV. Attendees are free to add on to the stories by adding their own 10-second videos to the mix. If you’re afraid that you’d be stuck watching random stranger’s selfies and videos on these stories, Snapchat created “Our Stories” — this features a number of carefully curated photos and videos that captured the highlights of each day. Moreover, Snapchat also announced a new live player, which is exactly what it sounds like — NBC could directly stream live broadcasts onto the app. I found this to be a far more efficient and engaging way to watch the Olympics.
I still believe that Snapchat has transformed itself from a silly (and perhaps scandalous) means of sharing disappearing photos and videos to a legitimate form of media consumption. As far as the update goes, it’s a fairly easy fix, and I’m looking forward to the day Snapchat decides to reverse the update. I promise we’ll all act like it never happened when they do!