Within just a few days of each other, Instagram and Snapchat both announced that they’re dumping features – and the sort-of rivals are doing it for the same reason.
Never heard of those features? Good – you should definitely pay attention.
(Even if you have heard of them, you should pay attention anyway. We have feelings, you know!)
Odds are, it’s kind of your fault these features went away – but that’s okay. In fact, it’s not even a bad thing! Go ahead, give yourself a nice lil’ high five.
Okay, this probably deserves a little explanation.
Why is it a good thing that huge social networks are dumping these features, and what role did you play?
Why does it matter to you and your business – even if you’ve never so much as downloaded either of these apps?
It all comes down to the reason these features got dropped in the first place.
Photo Map and Local Stories both suffered a fate long-feared by many a high school student: they got dumped because they weren’t popular enough.
(Or, to adopt Instagram’s more generous vernacular, they were “not widely used.”)
However you describe it, though, these features were removed because not enough people used them – and that means maintaining them no longer made much sense.
Instagram and Snapchat would rather use the time and energy they were devoting to those unpopular features and work on things that matter more to their users. (Wouldn’t you?)
In Instagram’s case, that means building out new options like Stories, and tailoring its capabilities to keep up with changing iPhone technology. For Snapchat, it means being able to focus more on event-related videos.
It’s okay if you don’t really care about that stuff – because here’s the thing!
Even if those features don’t mean anything to you, it should mean a LOT that they’re gone.
These apps deleting those features? It’s a big deal for you – yes, you! – and there’s a seriously valuable lesson in it.
We’re going to tell you something that nobody with an uncool younger sibling ever heard from their parents: if you feel burdened by something unpopular, you’re free to just get rid of it.
If a business like Instagram or Snapchat can get rid of a feature because not enough people care about it, then so can you!
Think of it this way. Instagram has 300 million users every single day – if even just 1% of those users liked the Photo Map feature, that’s still 3 million people who are going to be disappointed! (That’s nearly twice the population of Manhattan.)
Does it feel good to let down that many people? Probably not!
And while Instagram’s team probably didn’t celebrate this decision by popping a few bottles of Dom Pérignon, they had to know it was the right choice. Something that mattered only to a small percentage of their users was holding them back from focusing on things that would be popular with lots of people!
In software, there’s this thing people like to talk about called “feature creep.”
Feature creep is when you keep adding onto something just because you can. You throw in tons of whistles and doodads, because more is more, and surely somebody is going to care about them, right?
Problem is, all that stuff eventually turns into dead weight – and that thing that was once so beautiful and easy to use is now bogged down by a bunch of features that just sort of get in the way.
What Instagram and Snapchat did is the opposite of that – instead of adding things and making their products worse, they took things away to make them better!
(It’s like feature creep is the evil twin, and what these other apps did is the good twin!)
You can make that change, too.
Maybe one of the online courses you offer only gets a few participants a year, and takes more time than it’s really worth.
Maybe you want to stop offering one-on-one consulting services, or a high-priced product that barely sells.
Maybe you just can’t continue to justify offering those custom-crocheted banana cozies in your Etsy store.
Whatever you’re doing, if it isn’t popular and it’s holding you back, you can ditch it.
Even if it disappoints a small percentage of people, it can ultimately give you the freedom and the ability to pursue projects that are a lot more meaningful – and successful!
What do you think of Instagram and Snapchat ditching unpopular features?
Was it the right move? Should they have held onto them? What’s your experience with this sort of thing been like?
Let us know in the comments below!