When Facebook Poke released, apparently within 12 days of it being “ideated” and with Mark Zuckerberg contributing to its code, attention was drawn to the reason behind the launch. The reason was not because the Gods of Innovation showered love on Mr. Zuckerberg or Facebook’s desire to do something that would excite consumers about its service; it was in fact another well-performing app SnapChat.
To understand the current situation, let’s just take stock of what’s been happening in the past couple of months.
SnapChat is the app made by a small-time company that has caught the imagination of the world (India, as usual, is yet to be enthralled by this global craze). This app, available on Android and iOS allows users to create videos/photos and share them with friends; videos/photos that self-destruct after a fixed time that is set by the YOU, the sender of the data. Therefore, you can shoot and share anything politically incorrect, sexually risqué or downright offensive and not be worried about it being added to your Social Media History. Around October last year, the app had already reached the massive number of 1 Billion snapchats with 20 million photos being shared per day!
We all know that if any app/site is getting (or has the potential to be) more popular than Facebook, Mr. Zuckerberg turns ice cold with envy. It was then that Facebook offered to buy SnapChap and was turned down! Having his ego bruised and his pride ‘poked’ (pun unintended), Mark Z. and his team developed Facebook Poke with lighting speed and promoted it left, right and center.
There is no doubt that Facebook has the backing of a very large subscriber base and mammoth data, that it has the team and resources to pull an entire app together in close to no time but this time it DOES NOT have the first mover advantage.
And the culmination of all these events is that, as of today, SnapChat is more popular than Facebook Poke.
We all love underdog victory stories and this one is for the books! I have mentioned in my earlier posts how Facebook seems to be all over the place. Yes, it has 1 billion users and is a social media giant that faces no immediate competitive threat, but it has no strong future plans or directions. In the history of Facebook, this could well go down as the first episode where a small time player threatened the giant, stood its ground and won. It is time for Mark Z. and his team to invest time and energy in not copying apps but creating new original content that will get users excited about the site as if it were 2004.