Week 2 – My encounter with Snaps


I’ve known what Snapchat is for some time, I just didn’t get it. What the appeal was, what people would use it for, what all the functionality is. And from reading about it, and trying it out, I’m still not sure I fully get it. But I have the gist of it.

It seemed like a marginally less creepy app to try out over Periscope, the other one I kind of have a big ‘why’ question for (like, who cares to communicate or use these things!?). I found some friends on snapchat, sent some snaps, received some snaps, put the dumb filters over my face. It was alright. Still don’t get it. But, I partially think I’m about 3 years too old to get it.

There’s a very fine line between people who grew up with social media and documenting your own life, and people who literally just became an adult before it was popularized. I just missed it, and I am not used to taking a bunch of photos of myself. I in no way seek that, or to update my friends in that way. It’s not normal to me. There are certainly people my age and older who have acquired that, but it’s not really my personality. Maybe it’s my pale skin that doesn’t look great on camera. I don’t know.

But there are people who love this, and they like it more as a candid and less carefully curated way to share moments of one’s life. Evan Spiegel, one of the co-founders, has said it’s much more conversational than iMessage, for example, which he claims is transactional (I’m not sure I agree). And though it’s been thought to be the best platform for sexting, one study found almost 75% of users would not participate in such behavior, while 87% would not send content that’s legally questionable and 94% would not send something thought to be mean or insulting. Those should probably be taken with a grain of salt.

Snapchat was started by three Stanford students, and since 2011 have received over $163 million in funding. The company is valued at between $10-20 billion .

To develop the revenue stream, in October 2014 was the first time an advertisement was shown, in the form on a 20 second commercial. As they deveop their revenue model, they use predominately the ‘discover’ function for users to explore short form content (viewed between 500,000-1,000,000 times a day) and the ‘live’ function to see content happening that day for a 24 hour period (the NFL would use this and get 20 million views a day).

I do see how it could be a fun tool in specific circumstances, and I feel like a comedian or a celebrity would be more interesting to follow on this app than Instagram or Twitter. But I also find the content people choose to show pretty boring, and I wonder why people enjoy seeing these things. Oh, kids these days!

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