Instagram and Twitter Scramble to Be Snapchat

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Today Instagram released an updated app, to much fanfare, touting its new private message infrastructure. This just two days after Twitter pushed an update to phones worldwide with new, more prominent direct messages. Looks like they’re playing catch-up with Snapchat.

Instagram announced Instagram Direct, which lets iOS and Android users send text, videos, and photos to each other privately. Smartphones are all about communication, and when more people are using them for messaging that calling, and Instagram doesn’t want to miss the boat.

“If we were about photography we’d be built into cameras, but we’re not, we’re built into phones,” CEO Kevin Systrom told the Verge.

Twitter also updated its iOS and Android apps to include pictures in direct messages, and retooled the layout to make DM’s more prominent.

Since Snapchat rebuked a $3 billion acquisition offer from Facebook, it seems everyone is scrambling to implement Snapchat functionality. The ephemeral image sharing network users share more than 400 million snaps per day, so it’s obvious they’re very engaged.

Much like Instagram’s introduction of video after the soaring popularity of Vine, it looks like new functions and features are being added in an attempt to stem the tide of users fleeing to Snapchat. Indeed a motivating factor behind Facebook’s sizeable offer to Snapchat, was the desire to gain access to the network’s large, young user base.

Capturing the youth market is essential In order to grow any social network, and Snapchat has managed to do that perfectly. There’s no family baggage like on Facebook. 55-64 year olds are taking Twitter by storm. This may have something to do with the exodus of younger users to the next new thing.

Snapchat is young and agile, and more services are trying to keep up with it. Snapchat’s halfway to the finishing line, while Instagram and Twitter are still lacing up their boots.

Image credit: Jason A. Howie

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