If you don’t live under a rock, you’ve probably heard of Snapchat. This ever so popular app, especially among teens and young adults, is truly shaping the way we communicate. As most of us know, Snapchat is an app that allows you to send photos, videos, and messages to various people at once. However, the catch is they all self-destruct and disappear after the receiver opens them. Snapchatters are completely in control of how long they want their photos to be viewed, ranging from 1 to 10 seconds. You can draw on these pictures and videos, add filters, and also captions. Snapchat also now includes features such as news, videochatting, and even phone calls.
Personally I think the coolest feature about Snapchat is the “Story” feature. This feature allows you to broadcast whatever photos and videos you want to your followers for 24hrs. It is a pretty cool way to give people a glimpse into what is going on throughout your day. This app gives followers a more visual look into your life, versus Facebook or twitter, in which you just post a status or tweet. Snapchat can make someone feel like they’re really there in the moment with you, because their seeing things through your perspective (camera lens).
Snapchat really has come a long way since its beginning in 2011. It transformed from being able to just send a bad quality photo to instant video chatting. People today are all about instant gratification, and with Snapchat you get that. You can send and receive pictures in just seconds. When I first got my iPhone, I remember I would record front facing videos with my iPhone camera. My friends and I would send these videos back and forth to one another, but it took forever to send and receive. Snapchat really solved that problem. The simplicity of sending and receiving pictures through this app really has aided in the success of this app.
Another way Snapchat has changed dramatically is its number of users. Almost everyone I know has a Snapchat, and if you don’t it’s almost considered abnormal. Throughout 2015, Snapchat was in the top 3 app for the most downloaded photo and video app in the United States. There are over 100 million users a day and that number is only increasing. Also, it is estimated that 9,000 snaps are sent every second!
About 60 percent of Snapchat’s users range from ages 13 to 24. I myself fall into that ratio, and I am also a heavy Snapchat user. I use this app every single day to communicate with my friends, and even acquaintances. Snapchats are a more casual form of communication, so it’s more acceptable to Snapchat people you don’t usually talk to on a daily basis. Don’t worry, Snapchat is not limited to people in this age group. There are plenty of older adults who use this app as well, because we all need to communicate and Snapchat makes it a breeze. My own mother has a Snapchat (I influenced her to make one of course).
Celebrities are also HUGE Snapchat users. Celebrities, online personalities, and even Viners started using this app as an outlet to get closer to their fans. By adding your favorite celeb, fans get an insight on their lives. There are also user’s on Snapchat who are “Snapchat famous.” This means that people know them from watching their Snaps. Semi-recently Snapchat introduced the Snapchat ID feature, which is a unique ID that is set to each individual Snapchat user. Everyone gets their own ID, and this allows others to add you just by taking a picture of an ID. This is a very convenient way to gain followers on Snapchat. Some “Snapchat famous” people are so focused on growing their followers, they will print stickers and t-shirts of their Snapchat ID.
Here is an example of what a Snapchat ID looks like. This one is from my account and by simply taking a Snapchat picture of this, it will allow you to add me. (Feel free to add away!)
One “Snapchat famous” person goes by the Youtube name, BreaktheInternet. He is a really big Snapchat fan and will promote his account anyway he can. He posts his id in his videos and has also used the sticker method. Basically all of his Youtube videos are about Snapchat. He will reveal cool tips and tricks for the app, and he also keeps his subscribers updated on any cool new Snapchat features.
Below is a video he posted about Snapchat tricks. You can clearly see how important Snapchat is to some people, especially if you have an entire Youtube channel dedicated to it.
Now, like any popular thing in today’s society, Snapchat comes with positive and negative aspects. In my opinion the positives outweigh the negatives, but I guess it depends on one’s own aspect. Snapchat is a wonderful, simplistic way to communicate with just about anyone. Whether you are 2 feet or 5,000 miles away, communication through Snapchat is possible. Snapchat is a great way to stay in touch with others, because even if you are not directly snapping them, people can keep up with your life by viewing your “story.” Snapchat is also great for advertising, gaining information, and entertainment.
On the opposite spectrum, Snapchat has been known to pose negative effects. Some see Snapchat as a problem, because it is preventing users from “living in the moment.” Some people feel as though Snapchatters are too concerned with recording their current situation, than actually being present and paying attention to what’s going on. This technology has for sure altered our behavior because no matter where we go we feel obligated to show our entire friends list what we are doing. I mentioned in my last blogpost that Snapchat has changed how people attend concerts. This is the perfect example of a negative effect of Snapchat because so many people are focused on recording the concert for their “stories” that they are not even engaged in the concert. Concerts went from being a sea of fans, to being a sea of cell phones.
Another negative aspect relates to driving. A current trend that is taking place today is Snapchatting while driving. Snap chatters often take videos or pictures while driving. There is a feature that shows the miles per hour you are traveling, and it has become a popular trend to post snaps with this filter on it. Another trend happens to be videos that show drivers lip syncing or dancing to the songs in their cars. Doing anything besides paying attention to the road while driving is dangerous, and this definitely causes a risk for users who snap and drive. After all, about 11 percent of individuals admit to Snappchating while operating a vehicle.
I can willingly say that I am an excessive Snapchat user, and I do tend to go out to events and take pictures or videos for all my followers to see. However, I do not think this is a negative aspect. I feel as though documenting these moments, allows me to have a better memory of what is actually happening. Snapchat has a feature that allows you to save your videos, pictures, and stories. I use this feature all the time and it is an awesome thing to be able to go back and reminisce on a concert or party I went to. Snapchat allows me to capture those moments forever.
Technology is constantly changing the world we live in everyday. Snapchat is certainly a factor that impacts our society. From changing behavior norms of celebrities, to changing how fast we can send videos to one another, Snapchat is strengthening the ways in which we communicate. With just one tap of a finger you can download an app that leads to countless possibilities!