Innovation is always exciting. It’s how we got the magical things that make our modern lives great, with flushing toilets and fast cars. But every now and then we get a new creation that might well be an original idea, but doesn’t really seem like it will advance civilization, or even someone’s life, in any tangible way. Take Snack, the new dating app, which markets itself as a ‘Tinder meets TikTok’ because, apparently, ‘Tinder is for your parents’.
The idea itself is pretty straightforward: instead of users sharing photographs of themselves and writing about their interests, they upload videos. If User A likes User B’s video and then User B likes User A’s video they can message each other. They can also like, comment or share other users’ videos, which seems strange: if you’re interested in dating someone, you might not want to promote their content so they get more attention and subsequently more dates. Or perhaps you relish the competition. It’ll be interesting to watch if the company grows to see if this feature is regularly used. One of the minds behind Snack claims that liking, sharing and commenting can help users avoid embarrassing first messages, which honestly just seems a little immature. Sure, we’ve all had awkward schoolboy crushes on gorgeous girls and yes, asking them out was mortifying, but if you’re not willing to put yourself out there with a message, I’m not sure if you’ve got the courage for dating. Additionally, if you’re willing to post goofy dancing videos in the hope that someone will love you then you’re already exposed and brave enough to send someone a message.
Snack’s video-not-photo concept isn’t immediately horrible – although I can’t imagine many people have videos of themselves just ready to go – and perhaps it will cut down on catfishing. It’s also already been ripped off: Qemistry, due to launch later this year, has a very similar mission statement. This could be a good thing or a bad thing: two products launched close together might both fail, or both succeed, but it seems more likely that one will obliterate the other. It is technically possible that users will sign up for both sites, especially if they already have to generate new videos to stay relevant.
This brings us to another potential issue. Snack (and Qemistry) claim that people are more authentic in short videos. Respectfully, I question this: if you’re sick of seeing photographs that have been heavily filtered, I would like to remind you that a lot of these filters originated on Snapchat and actually worked best on videos. Rest in peace, the dog filter that gave us all cartoonish ears and tongues. That was weird, you will not be missed. There’s also the idea that Snack’s videos will help us communicate our interests, which again, seems unlikely. For example, anyone who likes to go fishing on Sundays might photograph themselves with a particularly large catch, and, if anything, this might look worse as a video where the fish keeps flopping around. Equally, some interests are better when briefly written about. A user might like to read, and that can be a great way to start a conversation, but nobody should film themselves flipping through a book and expect any kind of reaction.
I should explain that I’m certainly not Snack’s target demographic: they’re interested in the 18-24 year old market, with an eye to expand to people in their late 20s and perhaps even 30s. But I haven’t yet found any explanation as to why someone who posts a video of themselves doing a TikTok challenge would be compatible or datable: I simply do not care that much. Do it or don’t do it, I won’t like you more or less. If Snack is trying to captivate Tinder’s market and expand, perhaps more people will be interested and eventually start using Snack.
Snack’s attempts to connect with the juggernaut of TikTok could help, but even huge social media sites can come in and out of fashion. Can you imagine trying to find the love of your life (or just a quick fling) on Bebo or Vine? It’s interesting to consider that after TikTok’s vogue has passed Snack may want to distance themselves from it, as they realise that the ship is sinking. Possibly, connecting with TikTok won’t work out long-term. But for now, it is easy to see the appeal as more and more people flock to the site and Instagram launches its own rip-off with Reels.
So, ultimately, it’s pretty easy to be sceptical about Snack. Dating apps are huge, and people are starting their relationships there instead of meeting their significant others in real life more and more as years go by, but Snack seems like a startup that isn’t especially brave or interesting and the thing that makes it unique won’t actually make it appealing. We can wait and see, but I doubt that anyone will remember or use Snack by this time next year.