With the introduction of live video streaming and Canvas advertising on Facebook recently (both very similar to functions that first existed with Periscope and Snapchat) it seems as though there isn’t anything Facebook can’t do itself and now it’s giving users their own personal greeting each day, complete with weather report…something you may previously look to Google for. But is Facebook only good at replicating existing offerings or will they provide anything unique for its users in the future?
Social media is booming now more than ever and apps are constantly looking to be the next big thing. Unfortunately there are very few that make it and Facebook itself has fallen short a few times but it doesn’t stop them trying to compete. The thing is they only seem to be able to copy already successful ideas, building into their own platform and brand.
Snapchat launched in 2011 as a photo sharing app allowing users to get creative with their pictures but also offered something different by restricting viewing time. It took off and now has 100 million daily active users who can enjoy animated image sharing both privately and publicly via LIVE as well as discover brands. In 2014 Facebook responded in the form of ‘Slingshot,’ essentially a clone of Snapchat but with the addition of users having to send a slingshot in order to unlock a received one. It failed miserably and is now unavailable to download in both App and Play stores. So what went wrong and would it have worked if they’d built it into the current Facebook platform?
Facebook also moved into the instant messaging service, Whatsapp, by launching their very own ‘messenger’ app, separating it from their current platform. They then installed live video streaming to their status update options, an identical concept to Periscope, but are users really utilising this or do they prefer to stay loyal to the original creators – continuing to instant message on Whatsapp, draw on selfies on Snapchat and stream live content on Periscope?
If Facebook is so good at adding all these social elements into their already existing social media platform, maybe that’s where everything should stay? So much information is already shared through Facebook. We’re presented with trends and topics including politics, entertainment and sport. News stories and articles are shared and endless YouTube videos are watched all without leaving the platform. It’s the biggest media owner that doesn’t actually create any of its own content and maybe that’s why it struggles when it comes to creating something new of their own.
So if Facebook is so good at combining people’s everyday mobile activities but not great at creating new social apps, maybe everything should stay right there on Facebook. But it would have to offer more than social sharing. Like booking taxis for example or ordering your favourite Greek food amongst other important daily tasks such as booking a doctor’s appointment, paying bills and video calling your Mum. The possibilities are endless.