Facebook is arguably the most famous social media platform, but several others are a close second. Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat are just a few of the other major platforms; so what makes Snapchat different?
According to the Pew Research Institute, there is the biggest gap out of other social media between the percent of 18-24 year olds and 25-29 year olds that use Snapchat. Even though that particular research study didn’t include anyone under 18, Snapchat is undeniably popular with teenagers and young people.
At the start, the main feature of Snapchat was the ability to send photos or videos that can only be viewed once and disappear after an amount of time of your choosing. A user can view a photo for a maximum of 10 seconds, and just like photos, messages sent through Snapchat also disappear unless a user saves it.
Today’s culture has undoubtedly been changed by technology; as it advances, everything gets faster and more convenient. Unlike in the days of dial-up modems, people have begun to expect instant communication and information. In fact, according to MathMetrics, the average loading time of websites as of February 2018 is 8.66 seconds. With this kind of instantaneous spread of information, the popularity of Snapchat has risen dramatically, and though nothing is ever truly deleted from the Internet, there is a common misconception that what gets sent on Snapchat actually does disappear after those several seconds.
In 2013, two years after Snapchat was launched, a new feature was added. Users can now post a photo or video on something called their “Story,” which stays up for all of their friends to see for 24 hours. This shifted the focus of the use of Snapchat, as it is now more than just the temporary messaging app that it was. The addition of “Stories” proved to be so well-liked that in 2016, Instagram added their own version of “Stories” in an effort to keep up with the quickly-changing times.
As well as individual users being able to post to their “Stories,” companies have their own section. News sources that are considered more respectable, such as the Washington Post and NBC, as well as those known for less serious topics, like Buzzfeed and Cosmopolitan, have “Stories” that are viewed daily by Snapchat users.
Other features that other platforms such as Instagram and Facebook have adopted due to their popularity on Snapchat are the filters and geotags. There were originally just color filters for photos on Instagram, but Snapchat added ones that are specifically for faces. Face filters detect faces and add whatever feature it might be – dog ears, dorky glass, a New Year’s hat – to the person in the photo or video. Geotags are regular filters that are only available at certain locations. Snapchat’s widespread reach means that basically every town in the United States has a unique looking geotag, and so do special landmarks or even just independent coffee shops. Businesses have the ability to purchase and create geotags for their location, which serves as great advertising – as long as the Snapchat user is onsite.
As a trendsetter amongst other social media platforms and a favorite of young people, Snapchat is not a platform to be ignored. The nuances of advertising – and the audience – might be different than other apps, but with 191 million active daily users, Snapchat just might be worth downloading.