In a constant bid to compete, the social channels are constantly innovating, finding new ways to keep our eyes firmly glued to our screens. In many cases, this has meant a series of copycat announcements (*cough* Snapstagram). In others though, the developments mean more invasion into our personal lives, and the consequences range from irritating to irresponsible. And the main culprits are those at the head of the race: Snapchat and Facebook.
Let’s start with irresponsible. Last week, Snapchat announced the launch of its new Maps feature, which allowed users to plot their Snaps onto a Map, allowing people to see where they are and what they’re up to. Users can also zoom in on certain locations – say Glastonbury – and discover publicly shared snaps.
Thing is, this automatic update allows people to see exactly where you are, and what you’re up to, in real time, raising safety concerns for its user base (many of whom are young, and perhaps naive to the dangers of telling people exactly where you are at any given moment). You can go on ‘ghost’ mode, which hides your location, but it’s something you must actively select, rather than the default setting it should be. It’s one of those Jurassic Park moments, where perhaps Snapchat was so keen to get something to market before Instagram released its version, that it maybe didn’t fully consider what it was creating.
Moving on to irritating, and the way Facebook has decided to give us notifications for EVERYTHING. I spend my life on Facebook, so it was a sea change that I didn’t notice until the water was pouring through my 1st floor windows. But geez Facebook. It’s getting a little needy. Someone I never speak to might go to a thing. Great. Someone I haven’t thought about since I finished my GCSEs posted for the first time in a while. Cracking. That girl you met in a nightclub toilets that time is now on Messenger. Fantastic, another way to never talk to her ever again.
I get that Facebook needs our eyeballs, but the constant spam is not only intrusive, but also completely irrelevant. They have the data to know which of our friends we care about, so why spam us with the people we don’t? If I haven’t so much as ‘liked’ one of their posts in a decade, I’m probably not interested in throwing them a birthday party. And don’t even get me started on ‘waving’…
The shift seems to be noticeably favouring quantity over quality – ironically the exact thing Facebook so often warns us against. While going out of their way to make our content better, and more tailored to our audience, they’re becoming increasingly spammy.
So is the Snapchat vs Facebook / Instagram battle just becoming too much for everyone? Because the moves aren’t clever anymore. And the message to marketers is clear: do as we say, not as we do.