Thursday, December 17, 2015

Snapchat: Unique, Creative, My Favorite Media

By Stephen Saulpaugh

There are countless forms of media through various platforms that are ever present in our world. My generation in a particular has found a way to make these media forms into a way of life. While these media forms can be involved in a person’s professional life, a lot of the time they are used as forms of entertainment and as means for interaction with one another. Most recently Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have been the “Holy Trinity” in the social media world. However, a new media has come to the forefront and has many users all around the globe engaged with their unique and creative app. I am of course referring to my favorite form of media: Snapchat. 

The best way to describe Snapchat is as a video messaging app in which users can take photos, record video, add text and drawings, and send them selected people off their friend list. The sent messages are known as “Snaps” and users are able to set a time limit of 1-10 seconds after which the photo/video will be deleted for good. According to Snapchat, in “November 2015 the app's users were sending 6 billion photos and videos per day, while Snapchat Stories content was being viewed 500 million times per day. The company has a valuation of $10-$20 billion, depending on the source.

Bobby Murphy and Evan Spiegel, the creators of Snapchat, developed the app as part of a college project at Stanford University. According to the two men, “Snapchat isn’t about capturing the traditional Kodak moment. It’s about communicating with the full range of human emotion—not just what appears to be pretty or perfect.” I believe this to be the most charming part of this app. The ability to share a candid portrait of your daily life, on the other side of the spectrum, be able to witness a friend or loved ones’ experiences through this app is a great tool. It puts the creativity into the users’ hands and I am such a proponent of that as a fan of media.

Building Consumer Relations

Recently, companies have been using the Snapchat app as a way to showcase company culture to consumers. It is a fun way to connect businesses and consumers and build relationships. The consumer feels more like a friend because of the personal connection, and not just a target. 

Perhaps my favorite part of the app are some of the new features added in 2015, such as the ‘Discover’ and ‘Live’ sections. The ‘Discover’ section belong to many entertainment, news, and media outlets that are able to publish daily content for Snapchat users. The content is highly informative, concise, and interactive. The fact that is fresh every day makes users anxious to see what new content will pop up on their phone everyday. 

The 'Live' section often highlights countries and cities around the world and also major events such as sporting events, music shows, political outings, etc. They are real time videos being uploaded by different users all around the world. When users take a photo/video they are able to add it to these sections, and stand a chance of having their content shared with the rest of the Snapchat community, which I think is awesome.

Snapchat’s ability to embrace new trends, implement new strategies, and innovate ways to engage with its users is remarkable. It formed a bond with users through their candid practices of sharing experiences with one another, and it is for that reason that I think this app will continue to innovate for years to come.

 Stephen Saulpaugh is a junior studying Communications Arts at St. Thomas Aquinas College.


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