When you first look at Facebook’s new photo and video sharing app, you might get the feeling that it looks a whole lot like Snapchat, but if offers a little bit more than you might expect. This free app, now available on iPhone and Android, lets you take a quick photo or video, decorate it with text, drawings, and captions and launch it out to your friends.

Much like Snapchat, this ephemeral messaging app doesn’t keep your photos or videos posted permanently; after a short amount of time, the content disappears.

The kicker is that in Snapchat, you can view the message as soon as you receive it, but with Slingshot, you can’t view an incoming “shot” until you “sling” your own photo or video. Slingshot makes you trade a photo of what you’re doing at the moment in order to view what others are doing. This “reply-to-use” aspect of the app is what Facebook is describing as a fair way to share content at the most creative level. By forcing users to share their own moments to view others, it’s taking the passive, “I’m just looking” aspect out of the equation.

Facebook Releases New Photo & Video Sharing App Called Slingshot | Small Screen Producer Digital and Inbound Marketing Agency Houston

Slingshot creators said Tuesday in a blog post announcing the app:

With Slingshot, we 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. This is what Slingshot is all about.

Photos and videos that don’t stick around forever allow for sharing that’s more expressive, raw and spontaneous. We can connect the same way we like to live: in the moment. We’ve enjoyed using Snapchat to send each other ephemeral messages and expect there to be a variety of apps that explore this new way of sharing. With Slingshot, we saw an opportunity to create something new and different: a space where you can share everyday moments with lots of people at once.

Slingshot’s success will depend on whether or not users will think of the “reply-to-use” aspect of Slingshot is a hassle or if it’s a fun, creative way to keep sharing. It’s a new and strange example of how social media is evolving. As CNN put it, “it raises the barriers instead of tearing them down, and increases the friction to viewing a friend’s photo instead of reducing it.”

The Nitty Gritty on Slingshot:

  • Slingshot lets you send photos and 15 second videos to one friend, many, or all contacts you’ve slinged with.
  • Content is ephemeral, which means that it disappears after it’s viewed by the recipient. You can still autosave what you create though.
  • You can find friends through Facebook or your phone’s contacts.
  • By default, it has a weak privacy model where anyone with your username can sling to you.
  • It’s has a lighthearted, friendly, fun user interface.
  • A push notification will appear when someone sends you something, but you can’t view it until you respond.
Take a look at the walk through below by The Verge: