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On Tuesday, Facebook finally released its next attempted Snapchat killer, Slingshot. We say finally, because the gu...
On Tuesday, Facebook finally released its next attempted Snapchat killer, Slingshot. We say finally, because the guys at Zuckerberg HQ bungled the launch last week when they accidentally released the app before it was ready.
Now that it’s here, we can take a closer look at it. So what is SlingShot, anyway? In a nutshell, it’s a quid pro quo Snapchat, and not much else. The basic principle is the same: send friends (or enemies) photos and videos that self-destruct, James Bond-style, after a set number of seconds. The catch here is that, in order to view the content, you have to send something back.
The app itself is clean, simple, and easy to figure out. Reminiscent of Facebook’s Paper app, it’s easy to set up and start using. Thankfully, no Facebook or any other type of account is needed: just your phone number. Once in, settings are barebones and straightforward, and it works: take a selfie or a video, doodle on it or write a caption and “Sling” it to whomever you wish. Then wait for a Sling back, and so on.
It’s interesting to see if this wrench in the machine will work with teens. After all, they make up the largest percentage of Snapchat’s user base. Teens love the concept and Facebook has been eyeing the service ever since it started gaining traction. After a failed three million dollar purchase attempt, Facebook has been hard at work creating its own version of Snapchat.
The first variant of their “SnapChat killer” was Poke, a Facebook-branded carbon copy of the app. After dismal reception, Zuckerberg’s Creative Labs division (which also made Paper) went to work on their next attempt to bring Snapchat down, the aforementioned SlingShot.
Look, this isn’t rocket science. Facebook is obviously sore after Snapchat turned them down, and they’re sharpening knives. But will this “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours” approach work with Snapchat’s core audience? Teens are notoriously averse to Facebook, and although Slingshot pretends to be a standalone app, Facebook’s fingerprints aren’t easily wiped away.