Part of Snapchat’s appeal is the freedom it provides users to send genuine, unpolished self-portraits or “selfies”– without worries about them going viral or causing lasting harm to the sender’s Google prints.
The latest student social media craze: Snapchat. Its niche: It is literally meant to be temporary.
The mobile app, launched a bit more than a year ago by a pair of recent Stanford University graduates, enables users to share their photos with friends, family, classmates, and romantic partners– for one to 10 seconds. After that, as New York Magazine explains, “the message vanishes, like a communiqué in ‘Mission: Impossible.’”
Current high schoolers, undergrads, and many others are enjoying the disappearing photo trick en masse, apparently sending roughly 20 million “Snap” photos daily. As TechCrunch notes, “Snapchat is seeing roughly the same number of photos shared per day as Instagram. Yes, that sounds crazy, considering that Instagram sees at least 5 million photos uploaded per day and has more than 100 million users now.”
Along with its availability on the iPhone, the app recently premiered on Android devices.
Its appeal, in part, is the freedom it provides users to send genuine, unpolished self-portraits or “selfies”– without worries about them going viral or causing lasting harm to the sender’s Google prints.
As a University of Delaware student Snapchatter tells The Delaware Review, “It’s a picture that doesn’t last forever. You can look as weird, funny or bad as you want and the person you send it to can’t do anything with it unless they know how to use screenshot.”
Snapchat co-founder Evan Spiegel concurs, citing the app’s potential to subvert a social media culture built atop faux perfection. “When we first created it, social media sites had a lot of boring content,” he said. “People were worried about looking pretty, their gorgeous vacations, pictures of their dinner; it felt like you didn’t really know your friends. In social media sites, they have to have a sort of identity online, and they end up losing something.”
Separately, its one-note concept leads to skepticism about its staying power as a photo-sharing method of choice among students. But, at least for now, it remains a hit.
Writing for Her Campus, University of North Carolina journalism student Melissa Paniagua confirms, “It seems to be sweeping UNC’s campus, so don’t be surprised if on your walk to class you start to see more and more people with their heads down, phones up, and tongues out. No, they don’t have something wrong with them, they’re just Snapchatting.”
What do you think? Is Snapchat’s popularity growing on your campus? And, depending, what types of photos are people sending and receiving through the app?
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