First off I agree with you that the “tech Twitter” POV that Snapchat is hard to use is silly and embarrassing. Snapchat is clear about what it is about and easy to learn if you try and have a couple friends who use it or even show you. Opening to the camera ensures you know it is about pictures and sending them which can start a great flow of back and forth. Or can send you to stories. They have done a great job.
But I think comparing snapchat and Twitter is a little bit of apples and oranges.
The fundamental challenge in all human network products is not in using them but is in getting to a network that you want to be a part of. It usually starts smaller and grows from there as people get more and more comfortable. The rest of the product experience stems from getting the network right.
Snapchat — like facebook and Whatsapp and mostly Instagram has a fairly simple network construct. You build a network from your friends. If you get friends there and start engaging these products make sense even if all the features don’t.
Twitter is about information much more than friends. This is both good and bad. Twitter is great when you find the things you are interested in and maybe just a few friends. But the onboarding doesn’t make it easy to find things you are interested in nor then match with a few friends. This hasn’t changed in a while.
I really think that the network set up is even more important than the feature hierarchy. If you get started with people you want to use a product with, the exploration gets a lot more fun more quickly.