Social Disaster

Snapchat, Instagram, Messenger and the growing list of social apps bloating your phone. Bloating might sound harsh for your favourite apps on the smartphone but its true. Endless scrolling up, down, left right. There something new waiting for you at every swipe.

When your brain tells you that the posts are being repeated, you quickly close the app and open the another. This goes on until you are done with all apps, out of which Facebook has an algorithm that always shows new posts. This endless scrolling, brightly coloured logos of Snapchat and Instagram, all are little steps taken to make the apps more attractive. According to recent figures and surveys, it has been discovered that these companies are hiring behavioural analysts, who take cues from Las Vegas’s Casinos and Slot Machines to make these apps even more addicting.

Let’s break down what Snapchat and Instagram are doing to be open on your screen all the time.

  1. Snapchat

The app where texts, pictures, videos are deleted the second you have seen them and is present on every millennial’s and generation z’s phone. It works on a simple principle of grabbing your attention, loaded with primary features like Texting with pictures, videos and the good old text along with stories, camera lenses, video games, content from media outlets and creators and SnapMap. Snapchat has a new feature waiting at every swipe. Snapchat uses a bright Yellow colour with rainbow inspired colours all along the app. It also uses a semi-animated version of the world map and a cartoon personal emoji that can be used everywhere. These bright, fun features and animations make it interesting, thus retaining users.

  1. Instagram

An app that nails user retention, advertisement and addiction. It all begins with the multicoloured logo, inviting you to the app, followed by a bright white interface with a row of circles for stories, and an endless scrolling of posts. The camera on the left and personal messaging on the right. If that gets boring after some time, then there is a section that allows you to stalk what other friends are liking and a section that shows you unlimited posts aligning with your interests. Instagram does a lot of things, it surely has way more content than Snapchat and thus also generates much more users than Snapchat. Instagram is not slowing down too, it recently introduced IGTV, a YouTube-type video streaming service that allows videos longer than 1 minute. Thus, making users spend more time on the app.

Over the last decade, social media usage has multiplied, and a plethora of its users consist of Millennials or Generation Z users. Facebook saw the biggest spurge of users during this period, but its growing feature list complicated the user interface to the extent that it alienated users. Most of the youth moved to better designed and simple apps. Another reason for Facebook’s sharp decline was the amount of time is wasted. Facebook adopted an algorithm that always makes new posts appear no matter how many times you open it. This algorithm might have sounded dollars from advertisers, but the user base suffered.

Instagram also adopted random posts algorithm, but soon after Facebook’s decline, Instagram decreased the intensity of their algorithm. Recently, Instagram also introduced a notification that tells you when you have seen all the new posts. This notification has made users quit the app when they are done using it. This has decreased addictive behaviours and post social guilt. Such features satisfy user with their use of the app and retain them.

The Facebook Problem

While these apps are all about interaction and connectivity, there has been a lot of concern about user privacy. Facebook was recently under the scanner for leaking user data to a controversial data collection company. Snapchat at the same time reiterated how it protects your privacy and doesn’t use it as extensively as Facebook. Snapchat CEO also mocked Facebook for copying its story features and said

“If Facebook has to copy something, they should copy our privacy rules”

Many congressmen also claimed that Facebook, after the acquisition of Instagram and WhatsApp, holds a monopoly in the social media, with the next competitor being Snapchat, which is not a big company. It was also revealed that Facebook offered to buy Snapchat too. When Snapchat refused the offer, Facebook developed a competitor and threatened to release it if Snapchat doesn’t accept the offer. Snapchat still held its ground and refused the offer. Later, the Facebook’s Snap competitor failed miserably. This incident proves Facebook has always tried to be a monopoly in the social media space and is ready to go to any extent to achieve it.

This fact scares me, are we being taken over by a social media that just looks at us just entities to be exchanged for dollars. So, make a choice. Choose 2 social media platforms which you think are extremely essential to you, uninstall everything else. This is the time to stop the disaster from happening, it’s time to take back control of your life and data.

The GenZ Soul is a written motivational series, written by Ritwik Dhandhi, that introduces new ideas to tackle problems commonly faced by post-millennials.

The Season Finale comes next, where we tackle the biggest problem facing our generation. Stay Tuned

Check out Episode 1, 2 and 3

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