It finally happened, Snapchat is going public. Now it will die a slow painful death, or at least the things you love about it will. Although there is and will be a lot of hype about Snapchat as their team makes this transition, users and investors should be scared. Ultimately when a social media network goes public, there will be changes. Unfortunately the changes that are embraced by investors, are usually the ones that sends users running to the hills.
Snapchat is NOT Facebook, I don’t even think it’s Twitter. In fact, Facebook tried to buy Snapchat a few years ago for $3 billion. They said no, and it looks like that was smart. Initial projections show that the company is likely worth $25 billion. Yes, that is billion with a b. That said, very few social media companies have gone public, expanded, and are still around today. When Facebook and Twitter filed their IPO’s, as most tech companies do, they went on a buying spree acquiring smaller companies doing work that they were interested in incorporating into their product. Companies just like Snapchat.
Twitter has no evolved through this process and is probably on the verge of being bought themselves. Where as Facebook has become a monster devouring anything in its path. Most notably folding in Instagram into its portfolio. It’s also worth noting that although Twitter and Facebook have had huge success, their growth and changes are exactly what bred companies like Instagram, WhatsApp, and Snapchat to be created in the first place. When the changes come users flee. Usually starting with teens and early adopters.
When Facebook rolled out Instagram Stories, which ripped off the best part of Snapchat, I thought Snapchat would be dead then, but they survived. They were smarter than I gave them credit for, and with this IPO it looks like they will get the last laugh. Although I’m afraid their investors are the ones who will be more disappointed than their users.