Like many social media trends, Snapchat was born from simple, superficial roots, giving users around the world the ability to share real-time selfies with their friends. The temporary (10 second maximum) nature of the photo sharing app inspired everyone to get weird, creative, and sometimes even inappropriate. It was fun for a while, but many users, including myself, expected the app to disappear as quickly as it appeared. For a while, that prediction seemed correct. Even with the addition of filters and colors, the Snapchat revolution began to wane. As advertising rumors began to circle, I assumed that would just add to the decline in usage.
I’m here to admit that I underestimated Snapchat. The company has understood from the very beginning the short attention span that characterizes our society. They have released updates constantly over the past few months, targeting youth and media alike, and securing their position as a relevant communications source. I’m impressed by the innovation they have shown over the last few months with location targeted stickers, stories from around the world, and now, the “discover” feature.
Now I open Snapchat for more than just a selfie. I open it to check out what Kite Day looks like in India, or how snowstorm Juno has affected the East Coast. I take 60 seconds to catch up on CNN news, or see what the recipe of the day is from the Food Network.
When people talk about social media trends—news, videos, staying connected across countries and timezones, etc.—it can start to feel repetitive and predictable. However, it seems that the minds behind Snapchat listened and took their app to the next level, it doesn’t seem so shallow anymore.