Near the end of 2017, something weird started to happen. Snapchat's iPhone app kept logging me out of my account. The first few times, I promptly logged back in, but after the fourth or fifth time I didn't bother. I was already getting bored with Snapchat and I soon found that Instagram's copycat Stories feature was just as good -- if not better.
Then, after reading the Daily Beast's exposé on what's actually going on inside Snapchat's offices, I deleted the app off my phone. So I'm calling it now. 2018 is the year we should all ditch Snapchat -- well, unless you're a teen.
Instagram Is Just as Good at Stories as Snapchat
When Instagram first stole Snapchat's stories idea, it didn't faze me. Facebook has a long history of copying its competitors, and most of the time the result comes out half-baked. But in this case, I was wrong. I've been using Instagram stories exclusively for the past few weeks and it's better for a couple of reasons.
The biggest pro is simply that more people are on Instagram. I have more friends and followers on Facebook's app than I do on Snapchat, and that means more people are seeing my Stories (about three times as many for me). So it feels a lot less like I'm just sending photos and videos out into a void, which is what using Snapchat often felt like.
On top of that, Instagram is just plain easier to use. Everything from sharing new photos to checking who watched my last story is simple and intuitive. That definitely can't be said for Snapchat, which makes you navigate different pages through a series of swipes I was never totally able to memorise.
Snapchat says it's working on a big redesign to make its app easier to use, but we still don't know when that will actually happen.
Snapchat's Business Is Just As Messy as Its App
Snapchat CEO Evan Speigel//TechCrunch on Flickr
The Daily Beast's new story is based on leaked internal data, revealing that most of Snapchat's big features don't get very much use. Exciting additions like Snap Maps and Discover (where media companies share newsy stories) aren't growing at all.
Snapchat's corporate culture seems pretty bleak too. Speaking anonymously to the Daily Beast, former employees compared the company to the sinking Titanic and said they're often caught off guard by new announcements and features. Another source said CEO Evan Spiegel is "paranoid" and obsessed with leakers inside the company.
Perhaps worst of all, Snapchat's HR chief Jason Halbert is apparently still in power despite allegations of inappropriate behaviour. He allegedly works closely with Spiegel and has "free rein" to go after leakers.
If any of this has you feeling uncomfortable, it's a pretty good enough reason to delete Snapchat once and for all.
Unless You're a Teen
Snapchat rose to fame as an app for teenagers, and that's still where the bulk of its popularity comes from. A recent survey found that 79% of teens have an account, and 44% of teens would pick it over other apps like Instagram or Facebook if they had to choose just one.
A big part of Snapchat's appeal among teens comes from Snapstreaks, an addictive feature that counts how many days in a row you and a friend message each other back and forth. Streaks can go on for hundreds of days or even years, and Snapchat rewards different milestones with special emoji.
— bel ???? (@bel____21) April 12, 2017
If none of that makes any sense to you, you're probably not a teen and you should go ahead and delete Snapchat. If you've been nodding along to the last paragraph, then stick with Snapchat and keep racking up those streaks, at least until Facebook or Instagram copies that feature too.