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What is Snapchat?
Snapchat is an application that allows users to take pictures or capture videos, with the option to add captions or doodles, to then send to friends. The catch is that the sender sets a time-limit before the picture or video disappears.
Can Snapchat change the world?
My answer is no but there has been a massive increase in the popularity of temporary social media applications that allow users to share media which expires after a few short seconds.
Snapchat has seen a massive boost in subscription with the number of photos posted each day exceeding that of Facebook with a reported difference of 50 million between both networks.
Temporary social media could alter the way we consider photos, videos and text; if the image has a short life span this may push the viewer to pay less attention to the detail of the image and how it appears superficially but switch to a focus on the emotions and feelings that are created from the experience, in that present moment – it is experiential and holds power – and of course you’ll want to share the moment with a friend. And within a brand’s social media strategy, sharing is good, even if it’s through word of mouth!
I found the following point by Social Media Today, to be thought provoking:
“We now need to not only need have studied something relevant, joined the right clubs and completed internships in what we want to do, but have blogged and tweeted about it too. A more temporary social media presence could free us from the need to build a back-story and enable our ‘online personas’ to be as fluid as we really are… distinction drawn between the ‘real’ and the ‘virtual’ world will hopefully become moot.”
Whilst this adds a philosophical dimension to Snapchat, an app which many people use to send fun and silly pictures, it raises an interesting argument that temporary social media encourages people to live in the present, to enable our real persona to come across online and consequently we may feel more free to share our pictures and thoughts, with the security that whatever we share is not permanent and will be eventually be forgotten – much like our real-life interactions.