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Slingshot is Facebook’s New Snapchat Competitor

Just when you thought you had enough apps to contend with…

Slingshot is a new and exciting way of communicating with your friends and phone contacts via images and short videos, designed by Facebook’s Creative Labs. It’s free, doesn’t require a Facebook account for use and redefines some of the parameters we’re familiar with when it comes to apps that allow us to communicate without saving correspondence.

Like Snapchat, Slingshot lets you send short videos or images to a friend or group of friends and then receive replies. You can draw on images and add captions to spice them up a little. Slingshot also can connect to your phone contacts or Facebook friends in order to find recipients, or you can add them via their username.

So far all this seems standard fare for so-called ‘ephemeral messaging’ apps, but Slingshot is a little different. When it comes to being able to see new content sent to you by your friends, Slingshot demands a small price… not money, thankfully, just participation. If you’ve received a slew of images from a friend, they’ll arrive pixellated. In order to see the, you’ll have to pay the price and send your own image back to a friend or other friends. In other words, you can‘t see any new content unless you first contribute some yourself.

But what about the ‘ephemeral’ nature of the app? Well, images are deleted after 30 days of being unlocked, plus you can swipe at anything to instantly remove it. Another cool feature is Reactions – these allow you to reply to an image with a ‘reaction face’ as a sort of pictorial review of the content you’ve received.

Slingshot looks really interesting – the app is one of a few which require some input in order to receive gratification, as opposed to a long feed of images and videos which you need to check off. The whole experience seems a lot more fun and interesting, while other apps just seem like hard work, much like when your Facebook page has 17 notifications, you need to go and follow up all of them one by one. Social networking can often seem like a chore, but Slingshot takes that into account, with developers focusing on the ‘experience’ of the app, rather than just the program’s utilities.

Slingshot is available now in the US, with worldwide releases not yet scheduled. It’ll be very interesting to see this app grow and develop, and of course, continuing coverage will be posted here as updates or international releases surface.