Let me start off by saying this: I didn’t mean to fall for Snapchat, it just kind of… snappened (bad joke, let’s move on). Anyways, what I’m here to say is that I love Snapchat.
As with any new relationship, I like to figure out what it is I like about it. Why did I fall for it? And as with any good relationship, mine with Snapchat has some intangibles that I just can’t quite define. I can’t put my finger on just why I love it so, but I’ll try to explain.
What it is
Snapchat is a mobile app (download for iPhone, Android) that allows you to share photos and short videos. The app launches directly into camera mode, so that you can capture a moment instantly. Click the shoot button for a photo, hold it to shoot video. You can add a bit of text, a filter or a quick doodle. Once you’ve captured, you can share privately 1:1 with a friend, or you can release them to your entire network at once. Once your message has been viewed by the recipient, it vanishes forever. That’s it.
I created a Snapchat account to test it out for possible client use, but just like any other medium, I stayed there because the people I connect with are there. It took a while for the app to be adopted by my peers, but that’s true of any new medium. Facebook didn’t always have the massive user base that it has now. Twitter wasn’t always a behemoth of human knowledge. Like any medium, its main function is to allow interaction between parties, and if there’s no one there, then its value is diminished greatly. Snapchat’s user base is growing, there are now 100M monthly active users.
The ubiquity of smartphones with great cameras has made this the perfect time for Snapchat to rise to stardom. Visual media have claimed their spot among the top of the pile in social media. Videos are poised to have a massive year because both Twitter and Facebook are ramping up their native, in-stream/feed support of them. Soon you’ll see auto-playing videos on all of your favorite channels. Snapchat creates an in demand asset.
The Value of a Moment
So far, I’ve uncovered that Snapchat has a few things going for it. It’s got a user base that includes some of my favorite people (and brands, mind you). It produces visual content that is in-demand. It’s got a simple interface that makes it all very easy. None of this is groundbreaking. You can send your friends a video or a photo in any number of ways. So what makes Snapchat special?
Moments are fleeting. Life is fleeting. Snapchat’s magic is that it harnesses the value of a moment. Not all things are worth “writing home about,” but Snapchat allows you to easily, privately, and beautifully share a moment with the people you care about. Or to just goof off. Humans are social creatures, but not everything is worth another Facebook or Instagram post.
But with Snapchat, you can share a fleeting moment. Traditional social media chronicles your every post, and apps like Timehop have found a niche in helping you reconnect with your past posts, but not everything is worth recording forever. As Ben Brugler wrote recently, it’s important to enjoy the moments that make up life. Snapchat embraces this notion and gives you the tools to do just that. For me, this is probably the biggest intangible that Snapchat brings to the table.
Just like life, you never know what you’re going to get, and each moment is gone before you know it.
If you want to talk about Snapchat from a brand perspective, or even a personal one, Social Media Project Manager, Zach Thoren can be reached at Zach.Thoren@akhia.com.