Developed by a group of students from Stanford University, Snapchat is a photo messaging app that was launched in 2011. The messaging service was started by Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy, as part of a major design project in college. Soon Spiegel and Murphy, along with Daniel Smith, David Kravitz and Leo Noah Katz, developed Snapchat into a full-fledged mobile app.
Snapchat is presently available for mobile devices and is compatible with Android and iOS platforms. The user-friendly app became incredibly popular in just a couple of years – especially for the younger demographic in America (teenagers to 20-something-year-olds). Based on anecdotal feedback we’ve received, not many Malaysians are using the app. At present, the app gets around 350 million uploads everyday, which is more than the daily upload volume of Flickr and Instagram all together.
As of April 2013, 80% of Snapchat users were in the US. Recently, Facebook offered $3 billion to takeover Snapchat, but Evan Spiegel declined the offer. This may turn out to be a brilliant move or something that will later haunt him!
How Snapchat works
Snapchat lets you create and share photos, videos, text and even drawings to your contacts on the app in time-sensitive format. These messages are referred to as “snaps”. The twist with this app is that you set a time limit between 1 and 10 seconds for how long the snap is visible to the recipient. So once the recipient views the snap, the timer starts and when it reaches the 10 second or less expiration, they are deleted from Snapchat’s servers and hidden permanently from the recipient’s device.
Recently, Snapchat introduced a new feature called Snapchat Stories. When you add a Snap to your Story, it lives for 24 hours before disappearing.
Why you might like Snapchat
Every social networking site you have registered with records your history. This means that the texts, photos and videos you share are easily accessible. In short, by accessing social media sites, you leave a digital footprint that can later be viewed, unless you painstakingly erase it all.
But Snapchat deletes the photographs, texts and videos within ten seconds after viewing – essentially, sending messages without worrying about them being viewed or assessed at a later time. Many say the app is very popular for “sexting” -although that’s not the app’s intended purpose. Also, the app is very popular among American teenagers, who are veering away from Facebook to avoid social interference from their parents.
Ultimately, with face-to-face conversations, many of us express ourselves more freely and openly than we would with a text or video, since people can’t rewind, scroll back, study, or scrutinise what we did or said. Snapshat is trying to replicate the natural in-person social interaction for the digital world.
What do you think about Snapchat? Have you used it? Post a thought in the comments below.
Here is a video showing Snapshat users discussing their experiences with the app (Video is By Snapchat).
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