Evan Spiegel and Snapchat’s Update Crisis

Snapchat had an update this January that caused a complete meltdown on Twitter from users all over the world. In the update Snapchat removed the app’s ability to see the “best friends” in people’s friends lists. Snapchat also changed around some settings and added an awesome news feature for users. In this post, I will talk about these changes implemented by their CEO Evan Spiegel, and how they affected the company and users.

For those unfamiliar with Snapchat, the “best friend” feature lets you see the three friends that a person sends snaps to most frequently. It has been a beloved feature since the early days of Snapchat, letting you basically spy on your friends and lovers to see whom they are chatting with most. Once this update dropped the feature users all over the world were freaking out, because now they couldn’t keep tabs on their boyfriends or girlfriends to see if they were “Snapchat-cheating” on them.

Evan Spiegel TweetDistraught users all over the world went to social media to complain about the new update. People were so mad that Snapchat’s CEO Evan Spiegel was forced to respond on Twitter the same day as the update.

Spiegel didn’t think removing the best friends would be that big of a deal and it wasn’t even the biggest change in the update.

The update also introduced a “Discover” feature to Snapchat users. Snapchat’s Discover feature brings news to the millennial generation. The feature provides news platforms such as CNN, Food Network, Comedy Central, Cosmopolitan, and ESPN to publish short stories filled with rich multimedia elements. Like Snapchat’s “My Story” feature, it offers sleek, easy to navigate daily packages of information that disappear after 24 hours and are replaced with fresh news to make sure users continue to use the feature. Below is a video Snapchat released to introduce users to the new feature.

For some users the Discover feature is almost like a game. Once you have gone through all the content on a certain news platform, the brand’s colorful icon turns white to signify that you have read all of their content for the day. With twelve content brands posting quick updates, Millennial’s with short attention spans can get their news and keep informed in just minutes. Snapchat also revealed another short video showing how easy it is to use Snapchat’s new feature.

Snapchat’s Evan Spiegel, CEO of the temporary photo messaging company, is currently the world’s youngest billionaire at the age of 24. He met the co-founder, Bobby Murphy, at Stanford’s Kappa Sigma frat house. They quickly launched Snapchat in 2011 and now 100 million people use the free app monthly.

In late February of this year, Spiegel talked about his company at a fireside chat at the University of Southern California. According to Business Insider, Spiegel said, “Snapchat is better for news organizations’ branding efforts than Twitter because unlike Twitter, Discover clearly shows the users where they are getting their news from.”

Spiegel believes that brands are losing their value on Twitter because the brand isn’t as important as the content they are reading. Snapchat is trying to bring back the editorial perspective because Spiegel believes it is valuable to have someone smarter find out what is important in the news circuit.

Spiegel thinks that the Discover feature will definitely kickstart Snapchat’s revenue growth and help expand the company. I hope you have enjoyed this post and I want to leave you with a few questions. Do you think that Snapchat’s Discover feature is useful? What does Snapchat need to do to make the app more interesting and keep users around for many years to come?

Tommy Zittergreun

4 thoughts on “Evan Spiegel and Snapchat’s Update Crisis

  1. It’s really interesting that the use of Twitter for new organizations is considered less valuable compared to Snapchat. Although I do not utilize that particular function, I can understand the benefits of the various organizations that list their news through Snapchat. Users can quickly brush up on recent occurrences depending on what they are interested in. Great article!

  2. I like to think that in most cases I am not a curmudgeon that thinks a new idea, and implementation of that idea, is always a bad thing. I enjoy when companies change and/or adapt. However, in the case of Snapchat’s ‘discover’ feature I just have not been able to philosophically connect with Spiegel’s views whatsoever. I feel like he’s rendering the narrative in a way that seems to make sense, but, at the end of the day when this new feature has had its run of the course, I think the results — or lack thereof — will speak for themselves.

  3. I don’t have snapchat, but I do think the discover feature will be useful. I like the idea of the potential benefits that this new feature offers. Users will be able to catch up on all of the content that they might have missed, which won’t leave them wondering what went on during the day.

  4. When Snapchat did away with the ‘best friends’ function on their app I was kind of bummed. I wouldn’t like to admit it, but it did make me feel good to see that I was on the lists of the people who were on my list. That is certainly shallow and needy, but what is social media for if not to feed those parts of us?
    Now that they have implemented a system of emoji (which is actually the plural of emoji, haha) which show you which of your Snapchat friends are your ‘best friends,’ which are ‘best friends’ with you but not you them, and who has a ‘best friend’ in common with you even though you are not each other’s ‘best friends,’ I feel satisfied. I like that I can again get that creepy sense of satisfaction that, indeed, I am someone’s Snapchat ‘best friend.’
    Also, I like the discover feature even if I don’t use it that much. I like to look at the National Geographic story. Good article, Tommy!

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