Why I love Snapchat

Excerpt from this article:

The history of social apps has almost entirely been about taking linearly time sorted feeds of user content and turning them into a combined newsfeed experience unique for every user: Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Instagram. This has created a perverse environment where users are thrust into a social-proof arms race: they want to share cooler and more awesome stuff than their peers. Facebook turns into posts about job promotions, exotic vacations, kids’ accomplishments. Twitter is a competition to write the most retweeted witticisms. Instagram is the 9th circle of hell where everyone feels inadequate about their photos of bottle service, Michelin star dining and helicopter rides.

Snapchat removes this. There’s no combined feed. If someone wants to look at your shit, they have to click on you. There’s no public view count, follower count, likes count, or any other social dick-measuring contest. You can just put whatever you’re doing on Snapchat; if people don’t like it, who gives a fuck, you’ll never know. There’s no expectation of balling out 24/7.

Consequently, on Snapchat I’ll post to my daily Story almost twice as much as I’ll post to Twitter and Facebook combined to reach only a fraction of the number of people. The cost of content creation is extremely low, and Snapchat makes it fun to think about what aspects of what I’m doing every day might be cool for other people to see.


Snapchat frees sex abuse survivors to talk

SnapChat filters

Excerpt from this article:

Staring into the lens, the survivors have found themselves able to speak candidly, without fear of identification or repercussions.

Yusuf Omar, the mobile editor at the Hindustan Times has been using the filters to disguise the faces of women he interviews, while still allowing facial expressions to be visible.

“Eyes are the window to the soul,” says Yusuf. “And because of the face-mapping technology that Snapchat uses to make these filters work you don’t lose that.

“The dragon filter one of the girls used actually exaggerated them, so you can clearly see her expressions as she speaks.


Teens are getting almost all of their news from Snapchat and Twitter these days

Snapchat Discover

Excerpt from this article:

We know from recent research that teens ages 13-18 who are part of Generation Z are spending nearly nine hours a day consuming entertainment media. And believe it or not, a chunk of that time is spent on checking the news.

Through speaking with a few teens, Tech Insider discovered that they aren’t going to specific news sites to pick and choose articles to read, but rather checking certain apps where the news has been preselected for them.

And no, not Facebook — the majority of teens we spoke with said they rely on Snapchat and Twitter.


13, right now

Excerpt from this article:

This is what it’s like to grow up in the age of likes, lols and longing

Right now, Katherine is still looking down. “See this girl,” she says, “she gets so many likes on her pictures because she’s posted over nine pictures saying, ‘Like all my pictures for a tbh, comment when done.’ So everyone will like her pictures, and she’ll just give them a simple tbh.”

A tbh is a compliment. It stands for “to be heard” or “to be honest.”… “It kind of, almost, promotes you as a good person. If someone says, ‘tbh you’re nice and pretty,’ that kind of, like, validates you in the comments. Then people can look at it and say ‘Oh, she’s nice and pretty.’ ”

…“Happy birthday posts are a pretty big deal,” she says. “It really shows who cares enough to put you on their page.”

…Some of Katherine’s very best friends have never been to her house, or she to theirs. To [her Dad], it seems like they rarely hang out, but he knows that to her, it seems like they’re together all the time. He tries to watch what she sends them — pictures of their family skiing, pictures of their cat Bo — but he’s not sure what her friends, or whomever she follows, is sending back. He checks the phone bill to see who she’s called and how much she’s been texting, but she barely calls anyone and chats mostly through Snapchat, where her messages disappear.

…Even if her dad tried snooping around her apps, the true dramas of teenage girl life are not written in the comments. Like how sometimes, Katherine’s friends will borrow her phone just to un-like all the Instagram photos of girls they don’t like. Katherine can’t go back to those girls’ pages and re-like the photos because that would be stalking, which is forbidden.   Or how last week, at the middle school dance, her friends got the phone numbers of 10 boys, but then they had to delete five of them because they were seventh-graders. And before she could add the boys on Snapchat, she realized she had to change her username because it was her childhood nickname and that was totally embarrassing. Then, because she changed her username, her Snapchat score reverted to zero. The app awards about one point for every snap you send and receive. It’s also totally embarrassing and stressful to have a low Snapchat score. So in one day, she sent enough snaps to earn 1,000 points.

How I Learned to Love Snapchat

I mentioned this article in yesterday’s post, but it’s so full of fascinating commentary that I wanted to give it its own post. Here’s an excerpt:

Texting freed a generation from the strictures and inconvenience (and awkwardness) of phone calls, while allowing people to be more loosely and constantly connected.

I thought about this shift recently when trying to make sense of the rise of Snapchat, the latest wellspring of techno­social hand-wringing. Like texting, Snapchat flourished amid scarcity, though of an entirely different kind. We no longer live in Hillebrand’s era, when there were hard limits on how much we could say over text; but words alone can be an imperfect technology. So much of what we mean lies not just in what we say, or in the exact words we choose, but also in the light that animates our eyes (or doesn’t) when we de­­liver them and the sharpness (or softness) of the tone we use. Text barely captures even a fraction of that emotional depth and texture, even when we can type as much as we want. Snapchat is just the latest and most well realized example of the various ways we are regaining the layers of meaning we lost when we began digitizing so many important interactions.

In 2012, I calculated that I sent about 7,000 texts a month; now, thanks to the creeping unwieldiness of phones and the misfirings of autocorrect, I can barely manage to peck out half a sentence before I become aggravated by the effort and give up. To combat that fatigue, I’ve turned to newer ways to talk and interact with friends, primarily voice memos. These function like a highly evolved version of voice mail — there’s no expectation of a return call, or even a simultaneous conversation. Freed from that pressure, my friends and I leave one another memos about episodes of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” and “Empire,” the themes of “Lemonade” or even just a detailed account of a date or run-in with an ex. The trend is catching on elsewhere: According to an article on Vice’s website Motherboard, voice notes have become so popular in Argentina that they’ve virtually replaced text messages altogether.

But messages that include little actual messaging seem to be the wave of the future, and Snapchat is leading the way.

The Unbearable Lightness of Being Yourself on Social Media

Illustration by Karlssonwilker Inc

Excerpt from this article on Kottke, which was inspired by this article in the New York Times:

I wonder if Snapchat’s intimacy is entirely due to the ephemerality and lack of a “fave-based economy”. Blogs, Flickr, Twitter, Vine, and Instagram all started off as places to be yourself, but as they became more mainstream and their communities developed behavioral norms, the output became more crafted and refined. Users flooded in and optimized for what worked best on each platform. Blogs became more newsy and less personal, Flickr shifted toward professional-style photography, Vine got funnier, and Twitter’s users turned toward carefully crafted cultural commentary and link sharing.

Now, as Wortham notes, Instagram is largely a place to put your heavily curated best foot forward. But scroll back through time on anyone’s Instagram and the photos get more personal and in-the-moment. Even Alice Gao’s immaculately crafted feed gets causal if you go back far enough.

…It’ll be interesting to see if [Snapchat] can keep its be-yourself vibe or if users tending toward carefully constructing their output is just something that happens as a platform matures.


How Snapchat Built a Business by Confusing Olds

Another good long-read full of info and insights, excerpt from this article, which includes this chart:

Snapchat is just the sort of place where DJ Khaled, in his uninhibited glory, could find an audience. Vice called his Jet Ski adventure “the greatest sitcom episode ever filmed.” Elite Daily, the “voice of Generation Y” news site, raved, “If You’re Not Following DJ Khaled On Snapchat Already, You’re Buggin’.” In December, Khaled posted to Snapchat while getting his iPhone fixed at an Apple Store. Soon he was surrounded by fans. “It was unreal,” he says. “My Snapchat has more viewers than any TV show.”