The Influence of Real-World Social Situations on Social Networks

Yumia Hobbs

Back in March, Snapchat implemented a new feature called “auto-advance.” This feature basically forced Snapchat users to view subsequent stories whenever they tapped on one in particular. Of course there was the option of swiping left to go back to the story list, but it was almost impossible to swipe left before your “view” was recorded on an unwanted story. Soon after the update, there were memes coming from left and right from disgruntled snapchat users complaining about the auto-advance feature. The main reason? Despite it causing users to jump into a totally unexpected, and sometimes inappropriate, viewing session, the new feature made it easy to get caught creeping on an ex or someone you were trying to ignore. After being bullied with funny memes and angry tweets, Snapchat made the executive decision to remove the feature and revert back to the previous interface for the simple fact that, “sometimes we just want to see what our close friends are up to,” and “auto advance prevented that,” said Team Snapchat in blog post on their website.

Snapchat auto-advance is just one example of how real-world social situations influenced the feature implementation of a social network. Another example would be the “unfollow” feature introduced by Facebook. Contrary to popular belief, the feature was introduced back in 2013, but it seems users only started noticing the feature early this year. Why? “Product placement.” When the feature was first implemented, users had to go through an extensive process to enable it. Just recently, Facebook made the unfollow option appear right where you usually find the “friend” button.

As presidential election season started to grow closer, you could find more and more Facebook users feeling as if they were faced with a critical dilemma of not wanting to unfriend the sweet, yet annoying aunt whom they love dearly, but held opposing political views, or the co-worker who just became a new mom and feels the need to post every movement their newborn makes. Situations like these are what catapulted the simple change made by Facebook according to

Who said memes couldn’t make a wave and bring about some change?


Snapchat Blog post Facebook Article

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UNT Eagle Strategies

Class members of the social media class in the Mayborn School of Journalism