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Inside Beat

R.I.P. Snapchat? Rutgers students respond to app update

 – Photo by Photo by Declan Intindola | The Daily Targum

It seems like virtually everyone who uses social media is asking the same burning hot questions: what the heck is up with the new Snapchat update? Why is every feature on top of each other on the same page? And where did stories even go?  

Many Snapchat users find the social media platform’s new layout confusing. Snapchat generally has looked the same for years, with private snapchats and messages on one page and public stories on another. With the new update, private Snapchat messages and stories are featured on the same page in no particular order, among other new differences.

“It just makes everything look unorganized,” said Patrick Lynch, a School of Arts and Sciences junior. “I like the separation between my Snapchat conversations and the stories page. Now the stories page is just a bunch of ads — I have no reason to go to that page anymore. Having the stories and regular snapchats on one page makes it more complicated.”

Public stories, a feature used by celebrities, social media influencers and media news outlets, such as Vice and Cosmopolitan, is now on a separate page, when before they were grouped together with everyone’s stories. Because it requires an extra swipe left that many users forget even exists, Sabrina Gil, a School of Engineering first-year, believes that the content of public figures is now harder to find.

“I feel like that’s a little unfair to them because they’re not getting that big social interaction,” she said. “I’m usually on top of what they’re posting, because I follow beauty influencers and so it changes every day with what they’re doing, and I’m just less inclined to check now because it’s just really confusing to me.”

The app’s new makeover is so unbearable, that even the most loyal Snapchat users have publicly called on Snap Inc. to reverse the update. A petition for a removal of the update currently has more than 1.2 million signatures, and the list of signatures is still growing by the minute. 

Snapchat's official reigning user for having the most Snapchat followers in history took to Twitter to express her opinions on the matter. 

"Mm just saw the new Snapchat.. I don't know how I feel about it! What do you guys think?" Kylie Jenner said on Feb. 9

When fans quickly responded with negative reactions, Jenner tweeted back, "I kinda agree," adding a crying face emoji. 

Snap Inc. has still yet to respond to the backlash, and users are turning to sketchy apps and hacking techniques that claim to reverse their accounts to the original layout which drew them to Snapchat in the first place. If the queen of Snapchat can't even help make a change, it's likely that the update is something users are going to have to deal with until the next update comes around.

While some people have more than a few qualms with the new layout, others indicate that it doesn’t deserve as much backlash as it gets.

“I think the layout’s a little wonky, but people are definitely overreacting,” said Susan Lombardi, a School of Arts and Sciences junior. “It looks kind of weird at first, but it isn’t that difficult to figure out where everything is.”

Devin Miller, a School of Arts and Sciences senior, said the layout isn't as different as people think, and with enough usage, people will forget about the features they claimed to miss.

Like anything else that changes, a simple matter of just playing around with the new features will get users more used to where the features are. Friends’ stories can be viewed by clicking on their icon if it is circled in blue. If they send a Snapchat out, it is still the same as before where you would click on the red, blue or purple square. Finally, you view your own story by clicking the icon in the upper left corner. Simple, right?

“I think there are some things that are good about it,” Gil said. “Like, now you can tap through to get to stories instead of just going one at a time, and I like that you can add more text boxes now with a variety of fonts.”

In terms of usage, there were also some mixed responses as to whether the update makes people more or less likely to continue using the app.

Lombardi said that while she misses the old version of Snapchat, she uses it the same amount as she always has, considering it's her favorite app. Miller said she never used Snapchat frequently to begin with, instead opting for Instagram's stories feature. Lynch said that he uses it less and that he has noticed that a lot of other people use it less as well.

In terms of whether there will be a decline in Snapchat users and an increase in people posting to Instagram stories, Lynch also stated that he believed that a lot of people have already switched to Instagram even before the new layout came out and he does not think that the update will really affect the numbers. 

Given the fact that Snapchat is still the younger generations’ favorite platform over Instagram and Facebook, it’s hard to believe that the update will cause Snapchat to become irrelevant any time soon.

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