The Maturing of Snapchat

by Chelsea Riffe 

It was only a matter of time before we all needed another mobile app to fill up our days. But how exactly could a new mobile app replace Facebook, Twitter, and the newest kid on the block, Instagram? Easy: create something where content doesn’t stay public forever – since we all learned the hard way that what you post online stays there forever. And along came Snapchat.

Snapchat first came around about two years ago. I remember when I first got the app, it seemed so silly. What was really the point of sending pictures that would just disappear? Some people think it came about as a place to send “private” photos to a significant other. Others just used it to send hilarious photos to friends. A recent study came out with some hard facts that explain Snapchat’s demo, which is surprisingly not what people originally thought. The study, from the University of Washington, “polled 127 Snapchat users ages 18 and over found that 60 percent of respondents used Snapchat primarily to send ‘funny content,’ while the second most popular type of ‘snap’ is a selfie. Fourteen percent of those surveyed said they’d previously sent sexts over Snapchat, but just 1.6 percent said they do so regularly” (para. 2).

Screen Shot 2014-07-14 at 12.50.02 PM

(Image from huffingtonpost.com)

I know I use it to send really funny pictures to friends, but occasionally when I get all dressed up, I might send a selfie as a little confidence booster. What’s interesting is that Snapchat has developed its own language: snapping, snap, snapped. So how did this app, that started out as what seemed like a joke, turn into one of the most used apps today?

Meet Evan Spiegel, Snapchat’s CEO. He is only 23 years old. He’s known as the head of Snapchat, but also known as making one of the most scrutinized business-decisions in history: turning down Mark Zuckerberg’s 3-billion dollar deal to let Facebook buy the app. However, before good ole Zuck offered Spiegel this preposterous amount of money, he basically threatened him, warning him of the new app Facebook was coming out with right before Snapchat, called Poke. They would basically be the same thing.

Spiegel was terrified, but knew Snapchat had what it took to become a power player in the social space. He waited to see how Poke would do, and the best thing possible happened. “The day after its launch, Poke hit number one on the iPhone app store. But within three days, on Dec. 25, Snapchat had pulled ahead, boosted by the publicity, as the Facebook app disappeared from the top 30” (para. 6). Well, Merry Christmas Snapchat!

Screen Shot 2014-07-14 at 12.54.28 PM(Image from forbes.com)

Spiegel and his business partner, Bobby Murphy, knew Snapchat was here to stay. But we all know that with every new app that comes out, another 5 are built to compete. Snapchat had to figure out how to stay relevant, and mature beyond just a platform to send funny photos.

They did just that in 2014, by introducing Snapchat “Chat” feature.

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(Image from theverge.com)

This “chat” feature allows you to instant message with people, but living up to its purpose, the chats disappear after a certain time. If two people are on the “chat” feature at the same time, then it will enable a feature that works much like FaceTime – you can video chat with the other person. Talk about a complete 180! From going to an app that just sent disappearing photos, Snapchat has really evolved.

And now, just like every other brand, they’re letting consumers know they’re part of the app just as much as the app is part of their day. This week, they took different snaps from people all over the world that attended the World Cup, and created one large snap, to feature everyone’s different stories.

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(Image from mashable.com)

I’m really excited to see what this app comes up with next. I knew I was not a believer in the beginning, but after updating the app to stay competitive, by adding new features and tricks, I’m an avid snapper. What about you?

 

References

Bosker, B. (2014, July 14). Study shows how people use snapchat — and it’s not sexting. The Huffington Post. Retrieved July 14, 2014, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/14/snapchat-sexting-study_n_5574642.html

Colao, J. (2014, January 6). The inside story of snapchat: the world’s hottest app or a $3 billion disappearing act?. Forbes. Retrieved July 14, 2014, from http://www.forbes.com/sites/jjcolao/2014/01/06/the-inside-story-of-snapchat-the-worlds-hottest-app-or-a-3-billion-disappearing-act/

Kelly, S. (2014, July 13). Snapchat users get surprise curated snaps for world cup final. Mashable. Retrieved July 14, 2014, from http://mashable.com/2014/07/13/snapchat-world-cup-our-story/

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One thought on “The Maturing of Snapchat

  1. To be in a digital media program, I guess I am not that much of a techy person because I hate snap chat. I downloaded it once my best friend called me telling me its the new thing to have. However, once I got it, I felt like it was the dumbest thing ever. You also have to be careful with an app like this. Sharing intimate or sensitive pictures via snap chat may not be the best thing for anyone.

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