I still remember the day that I started using Snapchat. A friend introduced me while sitting at the high school cafeteria table. I added 4 of my closest friends. After school, I used the low-quality camera of my iPod touch to send blurry, 3-second pictures of my cat.
The app, which was originally made so people could share embarrassing pictures with each other without repercussion, has made huge steps for the future of media. Over the years, Snapchat evolved from a picture-messaging app to a platform for something much, much bigger.
Snapchat updated the app and made it have the ability to send videos, and soon after, the introduction of “The Story.” A Snapchat story allows users to post pictures and videos to their own story for all their Snapchat friends to see. The story is viewable as often as desired for 24 hours, and then they’re erased for good. The introduction of “The Story” was also a huge step for celebrities, who could now quickly and easily share life moments with fans.
Not long ago at OU, an account called “OhioUSnaps” was created by a student. This account allows for students across the campus to share funny dorm-room videos, or studying selfies, with upwards of 6,000 people who have added the account to their Snapchat friends.
OhioUSnaps is changing the way that we advertise at college. Besides just silly snaps, students post pictures of lost keys or ID’s and upload flyers of club events to gain publicity. Today, any company can create Snapchat accounts for consumers to add to their friend list. The consumers are exposed to creative marketing that often don’t feel like traditional ads.
Snapchat completely changed the game with their “Discover” update on January 27. (Many people may remember this as the update that removed our loved-and-hated “best friend” feature.) With just a swipe right, the “Discover” feature shows eleven media outlets, ranging from CNN to Cosmopolitan to National Geographic. Every 24 hours, these companies release a new set of content to view.
For instance, if I click on CNN, I’m able to scroll through 6 headlines accompanied by a moving picture or video in the background. If I swipe up, I can read the full story or watch the video. If my sound is on, I can hear a synopsis of the story or even music to accompany it.
It’s handheld and targeted to younger audiences that desire instant gratification and, as Wired noted, doesn’t often connect with traditional media.
Snapchat said on its blog, “This is not social media. Social media companies tell us what to read based on what’s most recent or most popular. We see it differently. We count on editors and artists, not clicks and shares, to determine what’s important.”
Far too often, I see Twitter accounts tweeting out some story or some facts without credible—or any—sourcing. Too many of my Facebook friends and Twitter followers believe everything they see online, regardless of the source. Snapchat Discover teaches us what’s important because we’re trusting the experts. Snapchat Discover allows young people to get credible information from an app that they’re using every day anyway.
From both the journalism and the advertising industry, Snapchat, you’re making huge steps for the future of media, and we’re excited to see what else you’ll do. Props!