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Messenger Day: Millenials love Snapchat & other social networks love to copy it

Sahil Bhalla | Updated on: 18 March 2017, 21:02 IST

 

Studies suggest that most millennials, especially those in the USA, prefer Snapchat over other social networks - Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

It's no surprise then that these social networks are racing to copy some of Snapchat's most compelling/user engaging features. Snapchat spurned a $3 billion-plus offer from Facebook, and now the social network behemoth has trained its guns on the up-and-coming challenger.

First, in August, came Instagram Stories. A direct clone of Snapchat Stories. It caught on like wildfire. Then came WhatsApp Status a couple of weeks back, which was an update to its text-based 'forever lasting' status updates.

Finally, this week, Facebook's other application, Facebook Messenger has launched what it calls 'Messenger Day' and is now available to users across the world. Rumours have been doing the rounds for months but users around the world, armed with the latest Facebook Messenger update can fully enjoy this feature stolen directly from Snapchat.

Messenger Day does exactly what Snapchat Story and Instagram Story do. One can share images, videos and texts, that combine to form a 'Story' and stay there for 24 hours before disappearing.

While Instagram allows you to broadcast your story to all the people following you, WhatsApp will let you broadcast your Status to those that have your number. Now, Facebook has gone one step further with its Messenger Day.

Messenger Day has by far the easiest way to control who sees your story. "The people who see it is kind of up to you. We care a lot about you being in control," Peter Martinazzi, Facebook's director of product management, explained to Mashable."There are two options we present you with. One option is 'everyone except,' and in that case you can decide who’s not allowed to see it. And, the other option is 'custom,' in which case you can choose exactly who you want to see it".

While Facebook allows you to control who sees your day, the people on the other end never know that they are the only ones able to view it.

 

Here's how Messenger Day works:

 

  1. Fire up the Messenger app.
  2. Tap the camera button in the messenger app.
  3. Snap a selfie or a picture of surroundings.
  4. Add art and effects simply by tapping the smiley face icon in the top right.
  5. Using the 'Aa' button in the top right corner, one can add text.
  6. Hit the arrow button in the bottom right corner to add the photo/video to your 'Day'.
  7. Choose the audience that will be seeing the 'Day'.

All Messenger Day posts are seen in a banner at the top of the apps home tab and they will be viewable for 24 hours. The only problem is, if you select a limited audience, you'll have to wait till the next day till you can change the settings to share the photo/video with everyone.

 

Subtlety isn't Messenger Day's game

 

There is one glaring problem with Messenger Day compared to Instagram Stories. The fact that Messenger Day is so in your face. WhatsApp's Status' update was in a different tab when it launched. When Instagram Stories launched it was unobtrusive and fun to use. Messenger Day is being forced down your gauntlet. It's all over the app.

Facebook took over Messenger's camera app with a sun icon. Then, the Messenger Day stories appear at the top, bigger than usual, and in the middle of the app, a question asking you to post your day.

What Facebook got wrong with Messenger Day, it got right with Instagram Stories. Instagram Stories was well received, didn't detract the from the app's core functionality and you could scroll down the app as if you've never even heard of the Stories feature.

It's a business decision at the end of the day and one that is logical. With Messenger Day, though, it is completely detracting. Essentially, Facebook cares more about the feature than the users.

 

Backlash

 

WhatsApp had to receive backlash after users revolted against the new Status' update. Users were giving the app one and two stars on the iOS App Store and the Google Play Store. Now WhatsApp has reintroduced the original text-based status update but also kept the new video/photo status update.

Users are complaining about the transition of a clean app to a cluttered app. M.G. Siegler, Silicon Valley venture capitalist, wrote "The opposite of an ode to Facebook ‘Messenger Day’". "The ‘Story’ format makes sense in Instagram. From the get-go, it was a visual feed of information," and if users didn't want it, they could just keep scrolling down the feed, he wrote in the blog post. That's not the case in Messenger says, Siegler.

"Here, people have their list of contacts and/or groups that they chat with. The most recent conversations — likely the most important — are at the top of that feed. But if you’re anything like me, you’re often scrolling down a bit because you have many regular conversations. And so this screen real estate is insanely valuable. And Messenger puked up this new ‘Day’ nonsense all over it."

 

First published: 18 March 2017, 21:02 IST
 
Sahil Bhalla @IMSahilBhalla

Sahil is a correspondent at Catch. A gadget freak, he loves offering free tech support to family and friends. He studied at Sarah Lawrence College, New York and worked previously for Scroll. He selectively boycotts fast food chains, worries about Arsenal, and travels whenever and wherever he can. Sahil is an unapologetic foodie and a film aficionado.

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