Did Snapchat take a page out of Instagram’s book when it created groups or did Snap just do what we had always wanted? Regardless, Snap gave us all the gift we’ve been asking for and we can now send Snapchats to a single group instead of aimlessly selecting our best friends, recents and the needs love.
The news dropped with two new tools, Scissors and Paintbrush, and shortly after the release of Snap Spectacles, but TechCrunch already touts group messaging has the biggest launch for the company in 2016.
It’s not that it’s revolutionary — groups was an obvious lacking feature since the social media app grew in popularity over the past five years. Now, a user can select up to 16 people for a group. Snaps can be opened in the group, but expire after 24 hours (surprise, surprise). Mashable has a really great user guide for more information.
But it keeps young users in the app simply because it will be easier to have conversations there rather than moving to another messaging platform.
What started as an “app where you send photos that disappear for some reason and I guess you can draw on them” (Lizzy Duffy circa 2012) now has become a mainstream form of communication and discovery: You can exchange visual and text messages, you can share live video and video chat, you can share videos and photos for later, you can catch up on news and pop culture, you can go behind the scenes of your favorite brands or get a peek into celebrity life. And there are probably a lot of other features that only the youths know about all existing for 24 hours before they disappear from our feeds forever.
This has created a new sense of urgency in our social media consumption that many other platforms — including the pioneer of urgent, real-time social media — are moving away from.
So groups: They don’t seem like a big deal now, just more of a convenience. In fact, most of us a Sparkloft were wondering what was taking so long. But as we enter 2017, we’ll be tapping our audiences to see how this new feature is bound to change our behavior.