Even though Snapchat tends to get lumped in with other social platforms, it’s never really been much of a social network — until now.
While Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and the like thrive off the vast amounts of (often public) frenetic sharing that happens on their networks each day, Snapchat has made no secret that its users turn to it for a different type of interaction.
Rather than the megaphone of Twitter or the popularity contest that’s Instagram, Snap has prided itself on the large volume of private sharing it sees, its users’ “creativity” and the fact that its app enables a kind of authenticity not found elsewhere on social media.
Snapchat has embraced this with an app that’s been far more closed off than any of its counterparts. Until Stories launched in 2013, there was no way at all for users to publicly share any updates at all and even then the feature got off to a slow start. The app eschewed other common “social” features, too.
While select publishers (including Mashable) can produce content for Discover, and advertisers can sell ads in Discover or between Stories, the company has done little to court influencers and smaller outfits. Snapchat still lacks a formal verification system, other than the emoji-based “official stories” that’s still reserved for the app’s biggest names.
But if Snapchat is still embracing its role as the anti-social network social network, you wouldn’t know it from its recent updates. On Wednesday, the company announced that it would allow anyone to share links within any snap they share with friends or post to their Story.
That may not sound like a huge change in itself but it stands to be hugely significant to brands, publishers, and any influencer not well-known enough to be verified or part of Discover. On a philosophical level, it also raises questions about whether Snap is finally starting to admit that it is, in fact, a real social media company after all (despite Spiegel’s insistence that Snap is “a camera company”).