Are Snapchat Really in the Wrong Neighbourhood?

"Well, well, well, Snapchat and the Channel News team." (image: Vulture)
The hilarious newsman v. newsman battle royale that was the centrepiece to Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy pretty much encapsulates how some commentators understand the direction in which the Twitter-Snapchat relationship is heading. Recently, Twitter redefined itself on the App Store, shifting its classification from 'social networking' to 'news' in order to make itself more visible. The idea was, essentially, to become the number one app in a certain field, rather than ranking in the top five or ten. Snapchat, since then, appears to have taken a page from Twitter's playbook, having announced that it's now a camera company, of all things. That would kind of make sense, given its recent launch of Spectacles, which are essentially parent company Snap Inc.'s cheaper alternative to Google Glass... although it's a stretch to say that Snapchat is really going to be more a camera company than a social media service. Google's still a search engine, for example.

But there's a twist: because many - including inside sources, according to a recent Business Insider article - are saying that, really, Snapchat is already laying the groundwork to be not merely a camera company, but 'the "de facto news outlet" for its millennial audience.' That's because Snap Inc. are rolling out job adverts for posts like development managers, charged with producing 'original shows,' and are also planning to purchase original content from other providers. If Snapchat and Twitter are both gunning to be the top news team in town, who's going to come out on top? I think we all know there's only one way to find out...

But wait, let's step back a bit. The person quoted by Business Insider for that 'de facto news outlet' line is only named as 'a source familiar with [Snap Inc.]'s plans.' So... that could be anybody, really. That's not to say they're wrong - it might be there's no smoke without fire - but things are escalating quickly here. While there certainly are solid grounds to suspect a more TV-like experience is coming to Snapchat users, and probably Snap Inc. customers more broadly, let's just hope things don't go too far in that direction. At all costs, we must avoid the precarious scenario in which other social media companies begin claiming the news team turf - we all remember the park scene in Anchorman 2. I don't think I can handle that again.

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