By David Pierson
Los Angeles Times
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) “By allowing users to share links, Snapchat is joining the ranks of other platforms in the business of trafficking that elusive content known as viral videos.”
Snapchat’s appeal has largely been limited to young people who can navigate its famously confounding interface.
It’s one of the reasons why Instagram has nearly three times as many users.
But in a major shift that could make Snapchat more enticing to new users, the video messaging app announced Tuesday it will allow its public content to be shared across other social media platforms, not just inside its mobile app.
The Venice company, which long eschewed a serious web presence, said users can now share links to videos curated by Snapchat in the app’s Our Stories and Search Stories features as well as videos from celebrities and other public figures known as Official Stories. The links will open on a web player hosted on Snapchat.com.
The hope is that the added exposure will demystify the Snapchat experience and help reverse user growth that has slowed to a pedestrian pace, in no small part because of competition from Facebook and its photo-sharing app Instagram.
Compared with Snapchat, both Facebook and Instagram welcome the sharing of content outside their platforms: consider how common it is to see an Instagram photo embedded online compared with a Snapchat screenshot.
By allowing users to share links, Snapchat is joining the ranks of other platforms in the business of trafficking that elusive content known as viral videos.
All that added attention could persuade reluctant visitors to create their own Snapchat accounts, but it could also undermine Snapchat’s core proposition to its users: ephemerality.
To address that, the company said it will treat links shared outside its app the same way as public videos inside the app by erasing them after a few weeks (they also disappear if the creator of the video chooses to delete them).