On February 7th, many users woke up, rolled over in bed, and attempted to go back to sleep. For those that didn't, they still rolled over and picked up their phones, intending to check their Instagram feed or send their Snapchat streaks for the day.
Instead, they got blindsided by Snapchat's new layout: with users' stories attached to the chat list rather in the Discover section, and said Discover section filled with celebrities' stories and compilations of stories from sources such as the Washington Post and New York Times.
This morning, I woke up, rolled over in bed, checked my Snapchat, and went back to bed. As a beta tester, I've had this layout for Snapchat for quite some time - to the point where I don't really remember the time before the new layout.
When I was first converted to the new layout as a beta tester, I was just as blindsided. I remember constantly swiping to the right uselessly to gather all of my friends' stories, and having to keep swiping to catch up with the news tidbits of the day; instead, what I would find were just stories from companies. It was as if Snapchat had really capitalized on the meaning of the Discover page.
No longer was the SnapMap present - if I wanted to find out where one of my friends was, I would have to go their specific conversation and hold down on it, bringing up their Bitmoji, name, SnapScore, and where they were at the moment. Goodbye, stalking all of my friends in one fell swoop. (Or, at least, stalking them easily. It can still be done, but you have to access the SnapMap through a specific person.)
And it was much harder for me to add to My Story - something that still bugs me to this day. Now, in the new layout, in order to access your story, you have to either select your Bitmoji icon in the upper left-hand corner of your screen or swipe up on the main camera screen to reveal your profile.
That's just to view the story - if you want to add to it, you have to take a picture and specifically add it to your story. (I still haven't figured out how to add to my school's story, too. Farewell to being able to claim fame on the UMass snap story.)
Snapchat even takes stories from people you wouldn't consider relevant in your life (say, that one person whose snap you got at a party that one time and never snapped them again) and pushes them up so that you see them, right in the list of Snap conversations you're having with people who are actually relevant in your life. All you have to do is tap the little icon of the person next to their name on your Snap list.
But there are some upsides. It's a lot easier to find the people you have streaks with - they're all grouped together in a little block, so when you're sending your streaks you can send them all in one go. (If you have more than six streaks, though, there's going to be a problem.) Have a bunch of group chats that you use a lot? They're easily at the top of the list, so you can send with ease.
Sending snaps is so much more fun, too: now, when you caption things, you have the option to choose from about eight or ten different fonts, all in the same color slider you had when coloring text in the old Snapchat. It's ten times more fun to send someone a snap in elegant cursive than it is in the just plain old Snapchat font. Plus, it's the feature we've all been asking for (or maybe it's just me): multiple captions!
Personally, I think it's a lot easier to keep up with people you don't snap all that often, either - their stories tell plenty enough about their lives. So when you have that ill-fated run-in, you can ask about their lives as if you've been following along with them all along. It sounds like an episode of "Black Mirror", but as long as you look genuine, you're a far cry away from that dystopian future.
Perhaps one day I'll learn how to get back onto the UMass story - as soon as there stop being so many featured stories about celebrities covering it up.
So to everyone that's freaking out about the new Snapchat update - you're entitled to freak out. It's a pretty radical change that takes some getting used to. But don't write it off. Once you get past the stories changing, it gets a lot better. Maybe even update your Bitmoji while you're at it - apparently they're getting more and more lifelike.