Snapchat is a hugely successful social network used by more than 200 million people every day. When you share a photo or video, it is only visible to your friends for a limited amount of time and then it disappears. Snapchat’s unique approach to social media found quick appeal, particularly among younger people who remain their main target audience.
While Snapchat is still characterized by its ‘disappearing messages’, it has added many more features since its initial release in 2011. It has numerous lenses and filters, 3D Bitmojis, group video chat, breaking news, community stories, Snap Map, friendship profiles, and more.
Snapchat has quickly become one of the most popular social networks in the world.
Snapchat founded an innovative approach to sharing social media
Snapchat is a social media network which is free to download and use. It has a unique feature which makes photos and videos you share disappear after a short period of time. Facebook raced to release a competing application called “Poke” but took it down two years later.
This innovative approach to sharing media became an almost overnight success for a few good reasons. First of all, it is fresh and original. It opened up a whole new way of way communicating. Where you may not have wanted a jokey post to be on your ‘permanent record’, Snapchat provided a way to make a one-off joke exactly that. As a result of videos and images disappearing so did your online footprint which has long been a cause of anxiety for many people.
Unfortunately, it is no longer as simple as this and there are numerous third party apps which can intercept “Snaps”, as well as in-app purchases available to replay them. There has also always been the ability to screenshot images. Snapchat does notify the user when this happens, although there are ways to get around this. Don’t get too comfortable assuming that Snapchat will remove your online presence as you go. Every image and video you upload is at risk of finding its way into the permanent public domain.
Snapchat’s temporary messaging tool became a popular means for sharing “risqué” images but repeated cases of leaked explicit content have highlighted its numerous pitfalls in privacy. Snapchat was not designed for this purpose, however. Its primary mission is to be a fun way of sharing media and connecting with others. The app is primarily a carefree way to share entertaining photos with your buddies.
Fun is the name of the game with Snapchat and there are plenty of features which add to this. New filters and lenses to use on your pictures and videos are added daily. Filters include a very popular subset of “Geo-filters” which are limited to those in specific locations. They even make geo-filters for specific events such as festivals which adds a level of exclusivity. Add a “Bitmojis” to transform your face into various cartoon-like faces for both photos and videos using a 3D emoji.
Snapmap is a clever feature, allowing you to share your location and keep a track of where your friends are. Share ‘stories’ of what you’re up to and follow the stories of your friends, your local community and breaking news from around the world. Edit and share old “Snaps” with friends and view each of your friendships on an individual profile. You can also use video chat with up to sixteen people on one call. Snapchat remains a major competitor in the social media space for very good reason.
Where can you run this program?
For Apple users, Snapchat is compatible for iPhone. You can also download an iOS version of Snapchat on your iPad. As for Android users, you will also be able to download versions of Spapchat onto most of your devices.
While Facebook is often accessed using a laptop or PC, Snapchat is usually used via mobile. The reason for this is because the social network relies heavily upon the sharing of media. In fact, without this functionality there would be very little to the app at all. If you prefer sifting slowly through social media with a big screen and a cup of tea, you may want to stick to the likes of Facebook.
Is there a better alternative?
In the wake of Snapchat’s discovery for a great social desire (self-destructing messages), a number of alternative apps have sprung to the market. Slingshot, Wickr, Yovo, Cyberdust and Clipchat all offer this feature plus solutions to many of Snapchat’s perceived problems.
One of Snapchat’s oldest problems is the users’ ability to take a screenshot of images which should ‘disappear’. Yovo has come up with an ingenious solution to this through a technology it calls “D-fence”. Although users are still able to take a screenshot, the app sends a static distortion wave to the screen which blurs the screenshot.
Snapchat has also been criticized for getting users addicted to the app through features such as “Snap Streaks”. These reward the user for maintaining conversations for long periods of time. For all its negatives, Snapchat’s popularity makes it the easy choice. You’ll have to decide what you want from the app before you choose.
Snapchat is a fun and innovative way of connecting with your friends. They have unashamedly targeted younger people (predominantly teenagers). Unsurprisingly then, it has the most appeal to this demographic. While there are some flaws and many competing applications, the popularity of Snapchat makes it hard to beat. More toward the silly than serious end of the spectrum, it is nevertheless a highly entertaining way to send a wacky wink from your phone.
Should you download it?
Yes, for young folk and the young hearted, sharing some silly snaps can be rollicking good fun. So do go ahead and give Snapchat a try!