SnapChat – Temporary Social Media. Can it work?
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes, 39 seconds
Hands up if you have SnapChat!
Well, I do anyway. And while it may be an app that your kids would ‘LOL’ at you for downloading, because let’s face it – we’re old, I’ve got it.
SnapChat was introduced to me a few months ago by P, my handsome and rugged boyfriend, who sent me a picture of him gurning at work.
Ever since I saw that super weird ghost logo, I have been fascinated by its marketing potential – can it be used for something bigger? Can a social media marketer grab it with both hands (literally) and make it something that can revolutionize modern marketing?
And from a personal point of view, I have been really excited to know if the concept can become something much bigger than something famous for ‘easy sexting’ and shameless selfies.
Yeah, but what is it?
Here is a quick background, for all the uncool peeps out there who still don’t know what SnapChat actually is (my Mum):
SnapChat is a photo/video share network, you link with your contacts or Facebook friends, create a username and add friends – much like any application you interact with others on.
You simply point your camera while using the app at something you find interesting (it might even be your own face) and ‘click’
you can add text, silly pictures or whatever and send it to a friend, or more than one friend, for anything from 1 – 10 seconds only.
After this time, the picture is ‘lost forever’; so to speak, unless you save it before it is sent or the person who receives it takes a screen shot with their smartphone, in which case SnapChat will send you a notification telling you this person has done it.
SnapChat has been at the centre of a fair few blogs regarding rogue applications accessing SnapChat accounts and sharing them publically – basically cyberbulling – and speculation surrounding what data SnapChat actually keeps; and let’s face it, if you’re using SnapChat to send rude things, you’re probably worried about this.
Temporary Social Media
Snaps can only be sent to those who you are friends with, they are designed for the soundbite generation and not designed to be held on to. In a recent blog, researcher Nathan Jurgenson did an interesting segment on Temporary Social Media; how SnapChat bucks the trend somewhat through its lack of historical capabilities and encourages people to live in the now (so to speak). While slightly philosophical for an application that I mostly use to send silly pictures of my hamster to my various friends, I think it’s valid. Sort of.
However, if this is the case then it can only mean one thing. SnapChat, for now, is not something we can start to use to appeal to a new audience. It’s not really a social network yet; it has a few issues to iron out – namely the awkward moment someone you don’t know well enough yet adds you and sends you a picture of a cup of tea, instagram-like, expecting a reaction.
So, what next for SnapChat?
I am not one for convention, nor do I believe we can dictate the format of anything ‘social media’ related – it’s much too holistic for that. Nevertheless, as it stands, currently I cannot see a way of utilising this application as a network on which I can build, enhance or develop any relationships.
As it stands, we live in a world of cyber tattoos, silly tweets and more repercussions from bad online decisions than ever before – it can be quite comforting to know that something has come along with the ability to iron out some of our worries about such things.
If SnapChat or something else can simply tighten the reigns, they will have a powerful tool on their hands that will make us look at social media differently.
I would urge you all to keep your eyes peeled, I think something interesting will happen with SnapChat one day that will semi knock our marketing socks off.