Then along comes Slingshot, the second app from the Facebook Creative Labs. Send your friend a photo message and he can. . . can’t. . . see it. . . all he gets is a pixelated blur. In order to reveal the true image, the receiver must send a message back to the sender.
I think they should have called it Volleyball because this back and forth can go on and on until someone drops the ball and gives up. (If you choose to swipe the shot away, it’s gone forever.)
You can send photos out to multiple friends at once and you can add text and draw on the images to make them more interesting. Let’s face it, if they’re normal, who is going to bother to take another photo and send one back just to see it?
Once photos are revealed, they stick around until you view them. . . after that. . . I’m not sure what happens to them.
The Slingshot team says, they “wanted to build something where everybody is a creator and nobody is just a spectator. When everyone participates, there’s less pressure, more creativity and even the little things in life can turn into awesome shared experiences.”
Less pressure? “Send me a photo back or you can’t see what I sent you” is LESS pressure? Like I didn’t already feel guilty enough about not responding to every one of my friends’ posts on Facebook and Twitter.
Is there a marketing angle? If you have a tight knit, mobile community, sure.
How about this:
You run a local bike shop and once a month you have a bikeathon with prizes. You get all of the participants on Slingshot then promote the event by sending “secret” clues, such as images of landmarks. Collect all the images to find the route and you win a prize!
It’s complex but it’s cool. The hard part is getting all of your customers to download the app.
Will people actually pay to play? I think the novelty will wear off quickly, people will send photos of their feet or desk, or whatever the camera is pointed at just to unlock the photo and then they’ll stop replying all together. Why all the bother when you can see share all the photos you want on Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat.
Upside? With Slingshot, there’s no such thing as a lurker.