SnapChat - a sociable media?
SnapChat has been around for a while and is mainly known for the self-destructive pictures that teenagers send to one another. It's fast replacing Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as the 'go to' app. These sites offer a way to share your life and be engaged in others, but recently they have been taken over with ads and promoted posts from third party pages.
So how does SnapChat differ?
SnapChat is a camera that is an instant and unfiltered way to share pictures or video with friends either sent privately, or shared publicly through YourStory. The original appeal was that private snaps can only be viewed once, then they're gone forever. This appealed to many as a way to send selfies free from iCloud hackers. However, where it gets interesting is the publicly shared story; simple 10 second video clips and pictures stitched together allowing you to create a continuous stream.
Nick Bilton, a writer for the New York Times, has recently taken to the app, interviewing influential users Casey Neistat and Jerrome Jarre. Casey, a prolific YouTube filmmaker, has highlighted the appeal of using the free app to create mini movies without the pressures of likes and comments. Nick conducted an interview on SnapChat with Jerome Jarre. Jerome found fame through Vine and has over 1 million active followers. The young Frenchman asks his “friends” (his words) during his daily stories to challenge themselves everyday. As recently as last week, over 30,000 people took to busy streets to lie down. Nonsense ensued but within that nonsense is a freedom. This freedom is found when the pressure is removed from the scrutiny of the internet's lasting record and this exemption leads to creativity.
The creative, instant access to the ephemeral of real events has the potential to change how mobile video is seen and used. The ability to create and share video has never been easier.
The most important aspect of this new source of content has yet to be fully understood. The new 'Our Story' feed, available to all users, collects geo-tagged stories from major events and streams personal points of view.
The event that encapsulated the power of this medium was the “Je Suis Charlie” rallies. The stream gathered from French users was an outpouring of emotion, and a real unedited, unfiltered response. This was only available for 24 hours then it was gone.
Could news and events be seen and understood from a different perspective if a live geo-tagged stream was available? This has the possibility to be an alternative and more personal source of insight into live events.