Facebook is not usually described as refined but according to Evan Spiegel, founder of SnapChat, Facebook is exactly that.
“I don’t know about you but my friends are really weird,” said 22-year-old Spiegel in a Forbes Blog article. Yet all of their quirks have been lost in the rarefied air of social media, replaced by self-conscious, superhuman wits who trade in “envy me” scenes—sunsets and vacations, impossibly fun parties and gourmet dinners.
According to Spiegel, his image sharing app SnapChat celebrates the fun in spontaneity and is an attempt to replicate the unpredictability of human interactions.
Launched in 2011, SnapChat works on the premise of fleeting moments. Users share images to their friends who have 1-10 seconds to view the image before it disappears forever.
Images can be captured through screenshots, but this is automatically relayed to the original sender which Spiegel said sets transparent expectations around conversation.
“A little friction is powerful,” he told Forbes.
A simple yet effective concept as demonstrated by the massive 20 million snaps per day the app reportedly receives.
This simplicity is continued through to the app’s functionality and design.
Users send a photo in three taps and can opt to add in captions and doodles, while the receiver keeps a finger on the photo to view it before it disappears into the abyss.
There’s a newsfeed of sorts, coloured in pastels and featuring the app’s mascot “Ghostface Chillah” but that’s about it.
Perhaps it’s the simplicity or the alternative to messaging which attracts the masses, mostly teenagers or youth between 13-24.
It could also be the sexting opportunities SnapChat provides. Something apparently avoided by the need to keep a finger pressed on the image before it disappears.
Either way, with its latest Android instalment, SnapChat’s popularity isn’t waning and while it doesn’t yet generate revenue, it’s a possibility to doesn’t seem too far off.
By Kristie Beattie