Essays on Technology and Culture

Snapchat and Facebook: Some Things to Some People

Last week Snapchat reportedly turned down a $3 billion dollar all-cash offer from Facebook. Apparently Facebook was worried about losing the teen demographic, or perhaps they were unnerved by the 350 million photos Snapchat claims to process per day. What seems clear, though, is that Facebook is intent on “owning social.”

The only problem with this strategy is that the very idea of owning social is a fool’s errand. To be social is to be human, and to be human is, as Whitman wrote, to contain multitudes. Multitudes of apps, in my case.

The Multitudes of Social | stratēchery by Ben Thompson:

Is it better to be a specialized platform for social—or any space—than to be all things to all people? I’d agree with Ben that it’s better to specialize. We’re no longer in social media’s infancy. We’ve graduated to the toddler phase. The infrastructure basics are in place to build out any sort of social network one can dream of, no matter how niche. Actually making it sustainable in both user growth and making money is the difficult part. There are solutions to this problem, but attempting to own the entire market is not one of them.

I still have no use for Snapchat in my life, however.