Social media as we know it has changed immensely in the past decade, we went from communicating via email to simply communicating with picture messages via the app Snapchat.
Snapchat first came about in 2011, when its creator, Evan Spiegel, heard his friend say, “ I wish these photos I am sending this girl would disappear.” Evan then got the idea to create an app in which the pictures you send someone are only allowed to be viewed for no more than 10 seconds, and then they disappear forever. At first this app was called Picaboo. Spiegel even created the ghost logo, which is still in use today. This app launched in July 2011, and only had about 127 users. Eventually after some creative differences amongst creators, Evan and Bobby Murphy, Snapchat’s co-founder, decided to rename the app, Snapchat. At first, high school students were the main supporters of this app, and by 2012 it had 100,000 users. As time progressed, so did the app. Snapchat soon allowed you to record 10 second videos, they added picture filters, filters that showed the temperature in your area, geotags for your location, and they even added a chat feature where you can send text messages to one another. Included in these app updates was the ‘My Story’ feature. This took Snapchat to the next level. A Snapchat ‘story,’ was a feature in which one can post as many pictures and videos they want for everyone of their snapchat ‘friends’ to view. So basically, a story of that person’s day. This transformed our social media culture because everyone always knows what you’re up to.
Snapchat has become so prevalent in our society. It has become such a widespread trend that people have basically created a policy that if you don’t snap it, then it didn’t even happen. Did you go to a wild party last night? Well, if it’s not on your snap story chances are you didn’t have a good time. You ate Panera bread for lunch? You better post a picture of your Turkey Bacon Bravo sandwich so everyone knows you’re eating good. In a sense you are validating your experiences and proving that your life is exciting to people. Before this app existed, this trend of showing your life to others via social media existed as well. Facebook was popular for a while when it came to posting pictures, then the buzz moved to Instagram.
Before the Snapchat era, you would have to compose an email or text message to send a photo or a video to a friend or colleague. Snapchat opened the doors to instantly capturing a photo or video and sending it to whom ever you desire in the blink of an eye. I can remember before I had a snapchat, my friends and I would send each other funny videos across text messaging, but they would take so long to send. With Snapchat, you also have the ability to see if and when the person you sent it to opened your snapchat. Another difference between email or text and Snapchat is that a snap can only be available for 1 – 10 seconds. Once the amount of seconds is up, that video or photo cannot be viewed anymore. You can screenshot the pictures or video, however the person you screenshotted will receive a notification.
Although Snapchat is intended to be a easy way to communicate, some controversy has come about. A scandal that happens often on Snapchat is the activity of sending inappropriate or risqué photos to one another. This app was especially used for this purpose due to its disappearing picture feature. People prefer to send scandalous photos because they know they will eventually not be able to be viewed anymore. Prior to this app, nude or inappropriate photos were sent through text message allowing people to save them and exploit them. You may think no one is going to be able to see those inappropriate pictures, but think again, because those photos can be screenshotted.
Like other apps, celebrities have taken over it as well. Celebrities have verification by having a specific “emoji” next to their username. Snap chat has become a platform where you get an inside glimpse at your favorite celebrity. What was before snapchat with celebrities? Paparazzi. Paps are still extremely common with celebrities today, but celebrities have become more open with their lives through snapchat.Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook are also mediums celebs post on to give us a glimpse of their lives, however most of the time these are run by their management.
Snapchat has become a medium for its users to find out about news as well. Snapchat has a certain page that displays certain news outlets like Time, People, E! etc… With one touch of your finger you can expand your knowledge on what’s currently happening in the world. What was before the News section of Snapchat? News channels, newspapers, magazines etc… Our world has been accustomed to finding out news through social media rather than true media forms. People favor an easier accessible way to news, rather than old fashion methods.
Some may say that SnapChat is an invasion of privacy. An old feature on the app was that you could see any user’s Best Friends List. This meaning you have a sneak peek to see who someone snaps the most. Before Snapchat, you had no way of finding out who an individual was talking to, unless you manually went through the phone. This causes riffs between people, especially relationships. It can cause turmoil in friendships and even romantic relationships because of jealousy. Thankfully this feature non longer exists.
Snapchat opens up us to many possibilities. You can communicate with people you’ve lost touch with. You can gain an insight into news around the world or celebrities’ lives. You can even talk selfies on it and use the cool filters. Personally, I think this app has transformed our society. It allows other to view our lives from a more personal perspective. You can get to know someone’s likes, dislikes, favorite things, and even family friends just by watching their stories. This app is truly universal.