Facebook Creative Labs recently released a new app called Slingshot, which follows Paper to mark the second Facebook app released to date. Slingshot mimics the idea behind Snapchat, as it also offers temporary photos and videos; however, Facebook had to put a distinctive mark on its new app, so Slingshot adds this twist: in order to view incoming messages, you must first send something back to the friend who sent it to you.
On the Slingshot blog, “Introducing Slingshot” states that the development team wanted to build an app “where everybody is a creator and nobody is just a spectator.” Slingshot accomplishes this by basically holding an incoming message hostage until an outgoing message is sent back. Check out how it works:
To use Slingshot, you first take a photo or shoot a video; it can be where you are, what you’re doing, or just a silly selfie. You have options to add text and color before you “sling” it to a group of friends. If your friends want to see what you sent, they first have to sling something back at you. Then, they can reply to your shot with a reaction or just swipe it away to move on to the next exchange.
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[image, from video]
The blog post does credit Snapchat for introducing “ephemeral messages” but adds that Slingshot aims to explore that idea in a different way with “a space where you can share everyday moments with lots of people at once.” Basically, Facebook took what Snapchat did and said, “I’ll raise you one.”
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Why Slingshot has potential
Slingshot has potential because A) It involves a whole group of people at once, and B) You can’t be a bystander: You have to participate to see what is shared.
These features amp up connectivity in groups of people, not just between two people at a time. Also, Slingshot adds the fun and mysterious element of curiosity. Users may stay involved on Slingshot simply because their curiosity makes them want to see what friends sent.
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We should also recognize that people like to try new things. This Facebook app brings something new to the table, so people are going to try it. The question is, will the Slingshot app be fun enough to stick around in the long term? We’ll just have to wait and see if this new app makes the cut.