They say the pen is mightier than the sword, but that’s so 1839. Now, in 2018, it’s the tweet that’s the deadly weapon, and Kylie Jenner is its most recent (and unlikely) wielder. The reality TV star managed to fell the social media giant, Snapchat, in a tweet that amounted to no less than 88 characters. Posting, “sooo does anyone else not open Snapchat anymore? Or is it just me… ugh this is so sad”, Kylie rubbed $1.3 billion off SNAP’s stock market value. She joins millions of people upset about the most recent Snapchat updates, calling into question the app’s future as an influential platform.
Snapchat, with roughly 170 million daily users, was never on the top of the social media pack to begin with. By comparison, Facebook has 1.4 billion daily users, while Instagram enjoys a cool 500 million daily users. Already on shaky ground, Snapchat can’t afford anything that could upset its already meager usage.
Unfortunately, its users didn’t just dislike its most recent update. They hated it. The redesign upset the traditional layout of the app, switching around where users could find friends’ stories and influencers’ discovery page.
At first, Snapchat didn’t think much about the public backlash against its major update. It acknowledged users’ frustrations, but basically told them to get over it, saying “updates as big as this one can take a little getting used to.”
Snapchat can’t catch a break. In the fall of 2017, it botched its release of Snapchat Spectacles, a piece of hardware that was supposed to help Snapchat diehards create hands-free content. With fewer than one percent of its users opting to buy these souped-up sunglasses, Snapchat has a warehouse filled with thousands of Spectacles, going nowhere. The mistake cost the company almost $40 million.
People, preferring to keep their eye protection separate from their cameras, just weren’t interested in the Spectacles. They were a little ugly, a lot cumbersome, and a major drain on your iPhone whenever you tried to upload footage. If you were smart, you’d save the $129.99 it cost for a pair and invest it in better accessories, like some sweet new skins for your iPhone X. As an influencer, a uniform of cool skins can help solidify your brand more than a pair of awkward sunglasses. And you could get a whole outfit of iPhone decals for nearly $130.
Chrissy Teigen, a celebrity with nearly 10 million followers on Twitter, joins Kylie and countless others, pining for the old Snapchat. She asked the Twitterverse “How many people have to hate an update for it to be reconsidered?”
Apparently, the magic number is one million. A Change.org petition calling on Snapchat to revert to its previous UI has received more than 1.2 million signatures. Since then, Snapchat is promising another update to mitigate the changes in its predecessor, making it easier for users to find friends’ stories.
Is it too late for the social media platform? Following Kylie’s tweet, Snapchat shares dropped six percentage points, losing $1.3 billion in stock market value. It managed to level out just over$17 a share, the original starting price of the company when it first emerged on the stock market last year.
The fact that a single tweet from a Kardashian relative proves two things. One, that the Kardashians haven’t lost any of its sway over pop culture. And two, Snapchat has always been in a precarious position, vulnerable to the whims of its users. Wall Street doesn’t know how to classify it; it’s either a trendy fad with a limited (and imminent) due date, or it could pose to be the future of social media, despite its most recent speed bumps. However you classify it, Snapchat’s future is hard to pin down.