Snapchat is a mobile social media platform that gained popularity very quickly; and through major decisions by CEO Evan Spiegel, they have been able to stay atop as one of the biggest social media outlets with Instagram and Twitter. Snapchat is an easy way to send pictures to one friend, multiple friends, or all of your friends list with one click of a button. Users can take a picture or a video, set the time it is available for viewing (10 second max) and send away. These images are allowed to be viewed for the short amount of time by the recipient, and then they are deleted forever.
Snapchat has had many updates over the years since its debut in 2011. A big update that has changed the way we use the app is called Snapchat Stories. This is a collection of pictures and videos that are stored for 24 hours for all of the users friends to see. This is great for a night out, going to a concert or event, or just to document your day. Users can take numerous 10 second videos and pictures throughout the night, and the next morning, you have your own personal video that takes a few minutes to watch and you get to relive your day/night and your friends can see what a great time you had.
A development off of the Snapchat Story is called Snapchat Live. Snapchat Live is created to give a live, close-up look at major events throughout the world that not everyone can attend. Users take pictures or videos, add titles or graphics, post to the event, and everyone in the world can view them. I realize for anyone under the age of 30 this is confusing. Here’s an example. Last summer, the FIFA World Cup was held in Brazil. There are hundreds of thousands of Team USA soccer fans whom would have loved to be in Brazil to watch their team, but most of those people don’t have the time or money to hop on a plane for a few weeks. Snapchat created a Snapchat Live Story for the World Cup. Users who were in Brazil watching the games could take pictures and videos from the games, the viewing parties, the celebrations, etc., and us who were sitting in a cubicle in miserable Waltham, Massachusetts, could somewhat understand what it was like to be in Brazil for this major sporting event.
These stories have been created from events such as Mardi Gras in New Orleans to music festivals such as Lollapalooza, the Westminster Dog Show, or to some of my favorites events including the Grammys, Emmys, and Golden Globes. On Sunday Feb, 15, Saturday Night Live had their 40 year anniversary. It was a 3-hour show full of the biggest names in entertainment. The next morning, I was watching Snapchat videos of Jimmy Fallon drunk singing on stage with Paul McCartney, interrupted by Prince and Taylor Swift. I understand this is not very interesting for people over a certain age, but for the majority of people actively using social media, this is huge.
(Screenshots from iPhone – February 17, 2015: Mardi Gras)
I love being able to get a personal connection to events that I am not important enough, or rich enough to be able to attend. I love being able to watch live celebrations in Brazil as team USA beat Ghana, but I think this is the start of something much bigger in social media. Average people are given a first-hand point of view look into incredible events. Famous celebrities and athletes use the app too! It takes the media out of the equation. Instead of a New England Patriot saying something to a blogger during Super Bowl media day and him writing his opinion on what was said; the fans can see Snapchat videos directly from the event. We had a live look inside the Patriots locker room after the Super Bowl victory, taken by someone on the Patriots staff or even a player. For someone who thinks the media is the worst thing that has happened to sports, I love this movement.
Snapchat was offered $3 billion for their app, they turned that down. It is now estimated that it’s worth is north of $18 billion, and I don’t think it’s stopping there. The way that the social media world is moving, Snapchat made a huge move by being the first to break into the behind-the-scenes, user-generated, point of view type media; and while I think this is very cool, I think the cooler part is what we are going to see in the future because of this movement.