Snapchat, the photo-sharing app the olds can’t seem to figure out, is getting a facelift this week in a do-or-die attempt to win over new users. Snap, the social app’s parent company, said this redesign was coming earlier this month. And today we get see their vision of an “easier to use” Snapchat.
The new design is apparently so incredibly simple that CEO Evan Spiegel had to write an op-ed and make a behind-the-scenes video to make sure we all really get it. Lovely. Only a “small percentage” of users will reportedly get the new update this week.
Snap’s announcement of the new interface on its blog reads like an epiphany from a stoned social media manager, citing the pitfalls of services like Facebook and Twitter in 2017, like the rise of fake news. “The new Snapchat separates the social from the media,” says Snap.
What this actually means is that Snapchat now has fewer screens to swipe through. The app still lands on the camera, but now all of your social stuff, like messages and photos and stories, live on one page. On the other side of the camera screen is a new “Discover” page with just publisher and branded content. Really, it’s not even that big of a change—but it’s possible the adjustments could still upset dedicated users.
In its blog post, Snap laments the very thing that has transformed social media from a wacky experiment into a business worth billions upon billions of dollars:
Until now, social media has always mixed photos and videos from your friends with content from publishers and creators. While blurring the lines between professional content creators and your friends has been an interesting Internet experiment, it has also produced some strange side-effects (like fake news) and made us feel like we have to perform for our friends rather than just express ourselves.
The new Snapchat separates the social from the media. This means that the Chats and Stories from your friends are on the left side of Snapchat, and the Stories from publishers, creators, and the community are on the right.
“There is a strong likelihood that the redesign of our application will be disruptive to our business in the short term,” Snap said earlier this month. “And we don’t yet know how the behavior of our community will change when they begin to use our updated application. We’re willing to take that risk for what we believe are substantial longterm benefits to our business.”