Like Kylie Jenner, Chrissy Teigen, and the million-plus users who signed a Change.org petition calling for its reversal, makeup company Maybelline does not like the Snapchat redesign. On Thursday the company tweeted that its views on Snapchat had “dropped dramatically” and polled its Twitter followers about whether to stay on the platform. Maybelline has since deleted the tweet, but in its first several hours, more than 80 percent of the 5,000 respondents voted that the brand should abandon Snapchat in favor of Instagram.
This fleeting tweet provides a mirror into the strange times we find ourselves living in. Why is Maybelline asking its followers to strategize on its behalf? Why are the followers willingly participating? Does anyone genuinely care whether Maybelline stays on Snapchat? Isn’t Maybelline’s Snapchat basically just advertising? Why is this discussion happening on Twitter? And why did Maybelline delete the tweet?
Trying to make sense of a situation that includes multiple social media services, a Kardashian, and a multimillion-dollar beauty brand may be a lost cause, but we’ll try anyway: Snapchat’s redesign, which took effect earlier this month, was conceived to lure people beyond the app’s core user base of teens and twentysomethings, but in practice, it’s mostly just alienated many previously faithful users. While fans of both the powerful and everyday variety have complained, so far Snapchat hasn’t shown any signs of giving in. One might surmise that if Snapchat wanted to clamp down on public criticism, it might use backchannels to ask a brand partner like Maybelline to stop making it look bad in public, but that is purely speculation.
One thing is clear: For all of Twitter’s problems, it has carved out a niche as the social media platform that users flock to when they want to discuss other social media platforms, whether it’s Facebook executives tweetstorming about Facebook, Kylie Jenner wistfully remarking that she may be over Snapchat, or Maybelline wondering whether it’s time to pack up its eyeshadow palettes and hawk them elsewhere.