So I’m casually browsing my Facebook feed today when I see an ad for Slingshot, a new social media app. The first line of the post promises an experience that is comparable to “Snapchat, with a twist!” I don’t particularly care for Snapchat myself (that’s a post for another time) but I do recognize that it is pretty popular with other people. The popularity of Snapchat and my curiosity as to what kind of “twist” you can put on sending pictures encouraged me to read on…and the next line is where I lost it.
“Your friends can’t see what you sent until they send something back!”
I had to read that a couple of times because I was sure I had to be misunderstanding something somehow. “Your friends can’t see what you sent until they send something back.” Excuse me?
Here’s how I picture this Slingshot thing going down:
Person A: *slings a photo he wants to share*
Person B: *gets notification that she has a photo*
Person B: *can’t view photo*
Person B: *slings back random photo of nearest object so she can open the photo sent to her*
Person A: *receives response photo of random object but can’t open it*
Person A: *slings back a photo of his own random object so he can view the reaction photo of her random object*
Person B: *finally opens first photo*
Person B: *gets notification of another photo – the random object reaction sent to view the random object reaction sent to view the original photo*
I can’t even complete a full cycle of this. The tedium of writing that out is too much; I can’t imagine living it. In what world would it be useful to send a response to something you haven’t seen yet? And similarly, in what world would it be useful to receive a response that has nothing to do with what you sent? You didn’t ask for it, it’s not relevant to the message you were trying to convey…Slingshot is basically just opting to receive junk mail from your friends.
After researching Slingshot, I discovered it is a Facebook creation. I can see the business appeal of the app. If Facebook can get people to buy into this Slingshot nonsense, you can see how it would be easy to make money. The whole “response before you know what you are even responding to” deal means if one person slings one picture, it starts a cycle of slinging back and forth before the intended “conversation” can be completed (as I demonstrated above); the nature of the Slingshot app fosters increased usage. Assuming the audience doesn’t lose its patience, that is.
With the rise of the digital age, there have been countless arguments that social media culture hinders social skills, damages interpersonal communication, and is making us generally less intelligent. I have never personally bought into these types of arguments much, but if Slingshot represents the future of digital communication, they might actually be right. I definitely see this weird Slingshot method as breaking down traditional communication – and not in a good way. You won’t catch me slinging photos anytime soon.