Did Snapchat Kill the Homepage?
When it first arrived on the App Store many people saw Snapchat as a passing fad for the younger generation. But with its continued growth into a multi-billion pound company, it has become much more apparent the impact that Snapchat has made in the way that we use social media.
If you’ve never used Snapchat, it’s a popular app that allows users to share “self-destructing” photos in real time. When you send a photo to a friend on Snapchat, you can choose a time frame that the person can view the photo before the app immediately deletes the photo after the time is up.
This has been one of Snapchat’s most prominent features since they launched and something that has stayed consistent even with the company moving into other avenues such as their Spectacles. The model that Snapchat built their success on has since been rolled out on Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp with many users complaining about this and not really understanding why these other social media networks need such features.
Another somewhat underrated impact that Snapchat has had on the social media landscape is the way that they have succeeded without a typical home page like many other social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter.
If you’re a regular user of Snapchat it might have been something that you’ve picked up on but chances are you’ve never really thought of it not having an actual home page. If you fire up Snapchat on your phone right now, you’ll land on the camera screen which also shows you any photo notifications and story notifications from your friends.
From here you can swipe left to access both your images and messages from your contacts and swipe right to access the stories. From the stories page you can then again swipe right to access one of Snapchat’s latest features, the Discover tab which includes content from Sky Sports, Comedy Central and Mashable.
Adding friends on Snapchat is done with a swipe down on the app and you can also access your settings here. The layout of Snapchat is generally pretty smooth even though it doesn’t have what people would class as your typical home page.
Facebook’s News Feed includes status updates, photos, videos, links, app activity and likes from people, pages and groups that you follow on Facebook. Twitter’s home feed is the go to for all users on the app but Snapchat doesn’t have one of these throughout their whole app, you can’t even use Snapchat on any desktop device, it’s only use is on the app itself.
Traditionally social media companies have their websites to support and drive their social media activity. But even with the growing dominance of these platforms, Snapchat decided to launch a complete different model to this and it’s hard to argue that they’re not winning with the model they have.
On the back of this there are plenty of companies that have since begun to use their typical website solely as a hub for their social media activity and then use their social media pages in a way to exploit each platform for its unique benefits and audience.
Snapchat have become a key player within the social media industry and they’ve not used shock and awe tactics like Facebook famously did with the Winklevoss twins idea and help of Sean Parker but they’ve done it by building a model never seen before within the industry and not conforming to the models that have come before them.
The impact of Snapchat’s lack of home page can’t truly be measured at this moment in time but take for example the way that Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp have jumped on the popularity of Snapchat’s story feature. Those apps have all launched their own version of stories, so could we soon be looking at a revamped home page, or lack of home page on these apps?
They’ve all taken inspiration from Snapchat before so who’s to say they won’t again.