What is #Pop, and can it replace Vine, Instagram and Snapchat?

#Pop is the latest photo and video sharing social app to hit iPhones. Combining GIFs, images, and video, it aims to offer more of an immersive experience for iPhone users, claiming a multimedia ‘visual conversation’ in the form of ‘pops’, or posts.

We already have social networks based on text, images, and video in the form of Twitter, Instagram, and Vine. What makes #Pop different? For starters, it seems to be the first one to combine all these formats into one individual post, while adding ever popular GIFs to the mix. The question is, does it do so in a meaningful way? As it stands, I’m not convinced, but adding a few popular features could help its chances.

GIFs for the win

While the concept is interesting, #Pop seems like more of a novelty than a viable social network. It works in much the same way as Instagram and Vine, with a homepage feed of your friends’ ‘pops’. The posts are interactive, meaning that you’ll have to tap on the graphic to see the second part of the image. It could start with an image, for example. Then, when your friend holds down the image, they’ll see part 2, either another image, a video, or a GIF.

Pop GIF

Of course, the keyword here is GIF, what has become an internet obsession for people to express love, hate, sadness, joy, apathy, annoyance – basically any emotion under the sun. People love GIFs and this works to #Pop’s advantage. It also has the interactive element, which adds something new beyond commenting or reposting (which you can also do with #Pop, the keep the ‘conversation’ going).

Lack of commitment?

Similar to Vine after its initial launch, if you don’t know many people using the app, it becomes less of a social network and more of a way to entertain yourself for short periods of time. If you don’t have users regularly posting, your feed will be filled with ‘featured’ or ‘popular’ posts from the network’s heaviest users, and people will lose interest quickly.

The trend towards ephemerality, like Snapchat‘s disappearing photos, and even the ability to send direct photo messages, a function of Snapchat and the new Instagram Direct feature, seem more likely to spark and continue a conversation. Somehow incorporating these features could help add something more sustainable than clever posts to the platform.

Like any other social network, #Pop’s success depends on its uptake and commitment from users. Right now, it seems like a novelty that’s good for distraction, but with little potential for commitment from users. Then again, Snapchat seemed like a fleeting novelty when it first launched, and look where it is now.

It’s still relatively new, and its potential is yet to be seen, but as far as video and photo sharing apps go, it’s biggest hope right now can be summed up in three letters: G-I-F.

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