Occasionally, corporations are blessed with a divine message that directs them toward an eternal truth of technology: Whenever a system works too well, ruin the platform to maximize return at a later date. Snap, Inc. is the latest to capitalize on this maxim with an update to its well-known app, Snapchat, a few weeks ago.
Unlike the old platform, which allowed convenient access to messages sent to and fro, the new version has a Friends tab that lumps chats and stories together — neat. The Discover section, now a brand-centric mecca, is replete with all the NowThis content one needs to procrastinate. Who cares if Snapchat’s core user base is displeased with the changes? Users would never start a Change.org petition to later gather over 1.2 million signers, right?
Perhaps you were among the first to receive Snapchat’s new update, which took a once effective messaging tool and replaced it with a user interface that went through a blender. Fortunately, there are now plenty of opportunities to watch DJ Khaled use an elliptical in a full Supreme velvet suit — even if you do not subscribe to his feed. Competition with Instagram became stiff after its parent company Facebook, Inc. failed to purchase Snap.
There are indications that Instagram’s Stories actually surpassed Snapchat in daily active users months ago, which forced the hand of the company to create public discourse based on negativity. Altering the Friends tab means messages are no longer chronological, which makes it so much more complicated for users to maintain their streaks. These trivial tasks that keep users coming back each day are only a small component of the interface, which Snapchat’s new sorting algorithm ensures.
Though the changes were actually marginal in comparison to the infamous University of Utah CIS overhaul last year, Snapchat found a way to completely ruin the platform while simultaneously maintaining users.
U.S. News reports that, “Contrary to the wave of negative media coverage the redesign has gotten, analyst John Egbert says Snap seems to have lost only about 90,000 of its 187 million global daily active users in February.” That means while users are griping and thrusting the app’s rating down to a measly two stars on the iOS App Store, the owners of Snapchat are enjoying the fruits of the divine truth.
Perfectly balancing order and chaos, Snapchat released a statement clarifying this update was the result of terrible confusion, and there will soon be some relief.
“Beginning soon on iOS [and] Android in the coming weeks, we are introducing tabs in Friends and Discover, which will make it easier to find the Stories that you want, when you want them,” wrote Team Snapchat.
Soon, each user’s small parcel of digital land will be fixed so that us sheep may once again live peacefully in our meadows.
Until then, may we all take the time to appreciate the wonderful filters which have been engineered by Snapchat to overlay our daily interactions with glasses and falling leaves. These small features — combined with the ability to change fonts — prove the company is on the cusp of technological greatness. Change is difficult, but once the interface goes back to basically normal, the universe will feel right once more.