3 Things That Make Facebook’s Slingshot (Kind Of) Different from Snapchat

facebook slingshot snapchatFacebook is making another attempt at the instantaneous and disappearing photo application space. It's called Slingshot, and the social media giant is formally launching the app this week after a brief sneak peek a few days ago that was claimed to be accidental.

Facebook tried to horn in on the space that Snapchat enjoyed, once with the failed Poke app and once by actually making a bid to buy Snapchat outright. The two big questions this time around are, did Zuckerberg and company learn from their previous stumbles? And, if so, what will make the coveted teen market that Facebook is losing its grip on convert to Slingshot?

It's difficult to know if Slingshot will make the impact that Facebook hopes it will, but there are some fundamental elements that make it different from Snapchat, at least according to the Facebook Creative Labs team:

  • "This isn’t a messaging app." So says Slingshot engineer Rocky Smith. Content sits ready to be shared but is not viewable to the user until he or she logs in and "slings" a "shot" (get it?) to other users. Once you receive a shot, you can reply or make the image disappear.
  • Flexibility. Users are not required to use their Facebook accounts to sign up for or log in to Slingshot. While it is sure to be tied to that social media platform in an as yet unspecified way, Slingshot users will not be beholden to Facebook when using the messaging (sorry Rocky) app.
  • Creativity. The feature that compels users to push out photos before being able to view photos sent by others is a deliberate drive by Creative Labs to make all Slingshot users creators of content rather than just viewers.

As with all new social media ventures, the hype behind Slingshot will quickly fade away as the reality takes hold. Whether it is truly different from Snapchat and whether it can make a decent play for the coveted youth market that Snapchat enjoys remains to be seen.

To learn more about Slingshot, Snapchat and the impact of social media messaging, join PR News for the Social Media 20/20 Summit taking place on August 12 in San Francisco.

Follow Richard Brownell: @RickBrownell