After last week’s accidental launch, Facebook has now intentionally launched their jab in response to Snapchat’s success, and they’re calling it Slingshot. Within the U.S. it is available on iOS and Android.
Why has Facebook created yet another app? How does it compare to Snapchat? Can Facebook pull off creating a real competitor app? These questions are analyzed, answered and hypothesized at the beginning of this match between Slingshot and Snapchat.
Questions and Answers:
1. Isn’t Slingshot Simply Facebook’s Version of Snapchat?
Actually, Slingshot is much more than Snapchat, and is really focused on overcoming the 1% rule. What is the 1% rule? Similar to 80/20 Principle (Pareto’s Law), or even to the extremes of 99 and 1, suggested by Tim Ferriss, the 1% rule suggests that on the Internet, 1% of users are creating the content that 99% of users are consuming and passively interacting with. Having said that, the greatest difference between Slingshot and Snapchat is that Slingshot has a reply-to-unlock mechanic built into it. When a friend sends you a picture or video, you must send them something first, in order to see what they’ve sent you. Facebook’s goal is to have more creators contributing to content on the app and fewer, (in fact none) just passively consuming content.
2. How Does Slingshot Work?
The communication back-and-forth with friends on Slingshot is coined as “slinging” or “shooting”. When you initiate the conversation (via pic or video) with a friend, you sling them a picture or video and they will shoot you back a picture or video, and then they’ll have temporary access to view the content you sent them. Similar to Instagram, the video length maxes out at 15 seconds. The image is one-time as well and will disappear, however, you do have the ability to auto-save what you create. So essentially, the conversation will live or die based on you and your friend creating content to continue sharing with each other.
You can find friends through your Facebook contacts (although you do not need to have a Facebook account to access Slingshot), through your phone contacts or through searching by username within the app. Once you’ve found your friends, you can send slings and shots to one friend, or your entire follower base at once.
3. Are There Privacy/Security Issues with Slingshot?
One area that seems a bit interesting, even possibly worrisome for Facebook’s Slingshot could be that of privacy and security for personal information. Facebook has continued the trend of providing security through obscurity. Meaning, unless your username is posted to the public, or is very obvious, you could become overburdened with unwanted slings as anyone can add you by username. However, Facebook has given you the ability to hide incoming slings by swiping left on them. Also, if you happen upon an inappropriate image or video, you can report the user.
4. Will Slingshot Survive and Compete with Snapchat?
The big question we’re all asking, how will the match play out? This question may be a little early to be answered. It can really pan out in one of two ways. Either Facebook hits the nail on the head and users begin creating content in order to see their friends’ content, and the 1% rule will be thrown out of the window, or Slingshot will be thrown out and will remain as useless and dormant as Facebook’s previously unsuccessful apps.
If you want my weigh-in on the topic, I would love to, but don’t realistically see Facebook finding success with Slingshot. I don’t personally think users are ready to be required to create content, in exchange for what they will consume. I could be wrong, and everyone can call me out on it, but I think the Internet and social media is still in the buffet-style phase where most users simply want to be consumers of content, rather than creators.
I’d love to hear your two cents on the topic and also see how you compare using Slingshot and Snapchat on a daily basis.