Posted on Monday, June 23rd, 2014 by Bianca Stivelman
Facebook released Slingshot, a Snapchat-esque photo-sharing app,with a unique feature that forces user engagement.
In its latest attempt to develop mobile services beyond its core social network, Facebook released Slingshot, an app that is designed to let you and your friends share your personal photos and videos, by simply “slinging” your content to others. The photos will then self-destruct after being opened. While this may sound like a wannabe Snapchat, here’s the twist: your friends can’t view your shot until they sling something back. This feature is specifically designed to jumpstart the viral spread of Slingshot, and to create a more engaged, creative community. By taking advantage of our natural curiosity, Slingshot motivates us to share with friends on the app in order to view new shots we receive. Just like main competitor Snapchat, you can add text and drawings to your selfies and videos, however Slingshots’s sleeker interface make it a ‘prettier’ version of its competitor.
According to Facebook’s blog post, the reciprocal nature of Slingshot ensures better involvement of the users, as users are forced to be creators, rather than just spectators. It thrives on curiosity, making people eager to share in order to view. However, I’m not so sure how users will feel about having to work for their entertainment/content. Many app users today are not accustomed to not having instant gratification at the sight of a push notification.
“Reply to unlock” is a feature that could either make or break the app. It is one of the only apps that requires full participation, which is what makes it so innovative. If Slingshot can acquire a large enough user base with the help of Facebook’s vast reach, it has a chance at becoming the new way we share day-to-day moments. However, there is a large possibility that forced engagement will repel users, leading to another Facebook app flop. The app is available for free on iOS and Android (no Facebook account is required). Will it be a fad or could it be the next Snapchat? Let us know what you think.