November 18, 2013
Snapchat, an application that has been gaining much attention recently, is the next generation of communicating. It’s the combination of texting and selfies, with the option to include a line of text in case the picture itself needs a bit of explaining.
And many might. The differentiating aspect of Snapchat is that the sent image doesn’t leave a trace. With the option of having the image or video last up to ten seconds, the sender can take embarrassing videos and pictures without the fear of it ever being resurfaced or shared with those they don’t want it shared with. Some images and videos may be so outlandish that a line of text makes the difference of a random unrecognizable Snapchat and the absolute perfect—though fleeting—capture of a moment.
One slight issue Snapchat faces is the screenshot feature many smart phones have. By screenshot-ing Snapchats, the value of the image never being seen again becomes void and degrades the app’s reason for use. Though the timer for most photos has not been long enough for users to utilize their screenshot option, it is an issue Snapchat must start addressing.
Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy first launched Snapchat in 2011. Initially starting out on an iOS platform, Snapchat was accessible through multiple Apple products without any cellular service. Most importantly, since Snapchat was available through iTouch devices, they were more reachable to an audience that did not own mobile smart phones.
Furthermore, as an INC. article explains, sending Snapchats doesn’t take up as much cellular data as it would take sending images through texts, which makes the convenience of sending as many pictures as the user desires a characteristic that has made the app popular. Moreover, with about 26% of the 26 million users being within the age of 18-29 years, there is a generally impressive user base of Millennials.
Recently, Snapchat made news by turning down Facebook’s $3 billion offer, while Google was rumored to have made an offer of $4 billion. Without any obvious ways of monetizing the app, questions arose of whether Snapchat is really worth the offered amount. Through my own experience of using the app, I’ve decided to come up with a conclusion of my own.
Essentially, to use Snapchat, you establish a username that allows the user to remain anonymous while allowing friends to connect with them as well. Once an account is established, users can take a picture, add in text, and select a friend or a few to send the picture to. But in what way does Snapchat have the potential to progress and advance?
As a personal user of the app, I’ve come to consider it to be a substitute of texting. Rather than sending a text to a friend of what you’re up to, you can send a picture illustrating the actual event or situation, regardless of how grand or boring. Snapchat, in other words, exemplifies the power pictures have of a thousand words. They embody the next generation of one-to-one communication, and so, they have an endless list of possibilities in terms of how they can grow and expand.
Over the 2 years, for example, the app expanded to the Android platform and launched a full Snapchat website highlighting their latest feature, Snapchat Stories, which, I believe, may be the next big medium for storytellers to share their message.
So the verdict? Looks like Snapchat’s potential in and of itself just may be worth much more than Facebook’s offer.