As of this writing, Slingshot, Facebook’s new photo messaging app designed to compete with Snapchat, launched less than 24 hours ago.
I’ve already deleted it from my phone.
Let’s ignore the complaints about the confusing layout and controls. And the fact that Facebook only seems to be able to clone popular apps instead of dreaming up new ideas on its own.
The core of the app, the way you share photos with your friends, is fundamentally flawed.
If someone sends you a photo in Slingshot, you can’t see it until you send a photo back to that person. It’s like responding to an email without reading the contents. Last night, I ended up sending photos of my couch, my living room wall, and my eyeball to a few friends just so I could see what they sent me. Eventually, I got stuck in a bizarre selfie loop with a friend because all we wanted to do was see the original photo each of us had sent.
Slingshot doesn’t reduce the friction in communication, it throws up a giant wall by forcing you to blindly respond to messages before you view them.
Those forced responses feel like a cheap way for Facebook to artificially boost the engagement in Slingshot without adding any real value to users. It might give the app a nice boost at first, but I suspect people will grow bored of the game very quickly, just like I did.
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