The Snapchat Effect

Snapchat. Two syllables, endless creative, social possibilities, or at least that’s what audiences have seen with the evolution of the multi-billion dollar valued company. Ever since its debut in September of 2011 Snapchat has introduced several means for users and businesses to use its platform while they effectively combated controversial issues regarding its service. Over time users of Snapchat have seen additions like videos, music playing during videos, drawing, emoji placement, text, filters, and most recently, stickers, along with many more subtle changes that expanded Snapchat’s horizons. The addition of “Our Stories” and soon after “Discover” to the menu created just another way Snapchat differentiates itself in social media markets. However, I for one would say the impact of those two made a bigger splash than previous changes to their system or attempts by competitors to do so.

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A main area of discourse regarding Snapchat is the inevitable “Why?” question that all new forms of media receive during their early years. Older generations particularly wonder “are platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat just fads or are they genuinely worth the time?” Basically, people want to know if this is a worthy subject of study and investment; if it is truly a brief but significant time in the history and evolution of human condition. Fortunately, you could view each new form of media as revolutionary in some respect so answering that “why?” is easier to handle with what we know of the past with radio, TV, and the early Internet.

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Here’s a little perspective from our parents’ point of view and experiences. Television and parts of the early dot com era created a form of inclusivity and cool factor because it was new to them and their own “thing.” The same goes for us with the past decade or so; every generation has some form of social, technological, and/or cultural trends that allows for them to feel a sense of status, self, and progress within society. Snapchat is just another platform like Facebook and Twitter that looks and feels comfortable and exciting to use because of the countless ways you can use its services.

For me, my particular interest in Snapchat has definitely grown over the years, from little to no interest to it getting to a point where I use it on the daily for a variety of purposes. Now I can see how it is not surprising that I hopped on what you might call the Snapchat “bandwagon,” but it does suit my demographic well; as a 21 year old college student, I am in a time and place where it is important to stay up-to-date on the latest social media trends. The app is relevant to me because of its social uses and keeping connected with others while developing new relationships with others, but also because it keeps me aware of important issues going on at home and abroad. Specifically, Snapchat’s recent addition of their “Discover” section has drawn my attention primarily because of the current and highly controversial presidential campaign. Companies like CNN, NowThis, The Wall Street Journal, and Vice have enabled someone of my generation to stay somewhat in-tune with what is going on with current global events, like the aforementioned campaign as well as many more topics. Snapchat essentially provides someone like me, someone that is more on a computer, tablet or smartphone than watching television programs, relevant matters that are from pre-existing and modern, up-and-coming news sources.

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I actually got some satisfaction recently from using Snapchat when my mom one day told me that she wished that my brother and sister (both of whom are older) were more involved in politics. Her proudly acknowledging that I found a means of researching important topics that allowed me to branch out to more related articles from there definitely meant a lot to me for obvious reasons (S/O to John and Dani! Both of you need to get more involved with politics, it matters!).

When it comes down to it, down to the brass taxes, Snapchat is a significant cog in the social media machine. Presidential candidates realize and understand it (Donald Trump definitely does, it is hard to argue that even with how asinine he is), businesses and news outlets realize and take advantage of it too, all to capture the minds of a younger generation for the benefit of the consumer but also a benefit for the producer as well. Aside from the serious aspects of it, it is equally as fun to experiment with. It seems like with each update that the users of Snapchat will continue to rise and build upon the Snapchat brand and creativity.

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