Snapchat’s Transformative Effects
“Snapchat, a mobile app that allows users to send “self-destructing” photos and messages, first appeared on the social media scene in 2011.” It’s only getting more popular through the constant updates of games, news articles, drama alerts, but most sought after are the augmented reality filters built into the app that people thrive off. In the article, Snapchat Among College Students, Alhabash exerts that “Snapchat users have grown significantly in recent years because of its recordability and modality affordances. The recordability affordance allows users to post photos, videos, and text messages that disappear after 24 hours. Regarding Snapchat’s modality affordance feature, users communicate with others through photographs and video clips (up to 10 s long), while also adding filters to their photos and videos (Waddell, 2016)” (Alhabash, 2017, p.1).”
Through Snapchat’s history, this social media company have made their mark in the political, economic, and cultural world we all live in today. Through their custom filters for its more than 300 million daily users, they have allowed individuals and businesses to strategically promote their events through the use of Mystories, and through influencers with a large following which businesses can collab with in order to reach out to a new audience. Here is an example of Snapchat’s use of filters.
Snapchat’s services and the use of strategic promotions by users also help create business opportunities for enterprising start-up companies who are looking to capitalise on social media trends which helps the internet ecosystem expand even further by the continuous reach to new people on the platform. The new online business model has changed the way people buy and sell goods forever. This new internet transformation has altered many business models to adapt to the new online realm, which has generated a new path of opportunities for strategic promotions which creates further engagement with such businesses because new people are being connected with these services at a rapid pace.
In the political world, Jerrica Rowlett & Summer Harlow (2018, p.2) affirm that,
“during the 2016 election cycle, some candidates created their own Snapchat account for users to follow. What’s more, Snapchat created a Live Story for users to follow the candidates and report live on election events, such as the Iowa caucus and the New Hampshire primaries. These stories were compilations of snaps submitted by users and published by Snapchat after being reviewed by a moderator. While most of the Live Story content was generated by average citizens, some candidates also submitted videos created by their campaign of the candidate speaking directly to the Snapchat audience or with Peter Hamby, head of news at Snapchat and former CNN political reporter (Isaac, 2015)”
Jerrica Rowlett & Summer Harlow
In this political example, we can see how Snapchat has been used as a way to reach a bigger crowd of people because of its popular usage through millions of people. Political candidates are able to voice their opinions through Snapchat which in turn extends their message far beyond the number of people you can fit in a standard venue; furthermore, they can use Snapchat as their own online venue which can expand their audience by millions of people because so many people engage on this platform daily. This is a wise move for politicians as the internet ecosystem is a vastly growing matrix.
Rice, L. (2019) further emphasises the transformative effects on the political world when he affirms that “the political uses of Snapchat yield higher levels of civic engagement and provide direct evidence that the owner of Snapchat, Evan Spiegel, has a desire for Snapchat to have a larger role in mobilizing voters has worked. Thus, a medium that many may dismiss as inconsequential due to some of the triviality that occurs there ends up having significant, positive effects on civic engagement patterns among younger voters (p.13).” From this passage, we can interpret that Snapchat has a highly effective pull on younger voters to make a difference.
Historically, Snapchat hasn’t always had a huge voice when it comes to information access about the world that people can use to gain knowledge on something. It used to be a simple photo sharing and communication platform that people would use to talk to other people. However, though Snapchats evolution, new updates have allowed users to gain access to news on world events, subscribe to entertainers, play augmented reality games, use augmented reality filters to manipulate space and uses effects to changed the physical aspect of your face, have access to Snapmaps to see where all your friends are in that current moment and discover new things that may interest you which you can subscribe too.
Almubaraki (2016) brings us an example of the transformative effect that Snapchat has had on Kuwait. She states that “today, video applications such as Snapchat pose a great challenge to mainstream state-driven visual production, which has scrambled to reframe itself within a new paradigm. Not only does Snapchat unveil the ‘real’ house, a sacred private space, previously inaccessible, but it presents new, less monitored values of the family and its home space. (p.3)” People are following the Snapchat transformation from mainstream state-driven visual production because it shows users a private view of something that was previously inaccessible (Almubaraki, 2016, p.3) . Users feel like they are getting a more personalised experience when interacting with Snapchat. Almubaraki (2016) also describes Snapchats effects in statistical form; “based on a study published in August 2015 by the Department of Statistics and Research at Kuwait University, 94.5 percent of Kuwait’s population are today users of social media. The study also states that 92 percent of users depend less on traditional sources of media, such as newspapers, radio, and television, as their main source of information than on social media (p.2).” These statistics put in perspective the transformative effects that Snapchat has had on the old world of newspapers and television.
Snapchat’s Business Model
Mahfouz (2017) asserts that Evan Spiegel’s social networking platform, Snapchat, has greatly impacted America’s social fabric and how business is being conducted in America since this platform launched in the early 2000s (p.2). She elaborates by saying that,” with the information, age maturing, and consumers increasingly being connected to online devices, department stores, and other retailers must consider creative ways to engage their target market. Retailers have been quick to adopt technology for operations and utilize their websites for eCommerce through social media and online advertising strategies to generate revenue (Mahfouz, 2017, p.2).” This indicates that Snapchat’s business model is largely encompassed around advertisement strategies in order to generate revenue. “Snapchat offers a wide range of products for advertisers – including traditional video ads that play between contents, sponsorship, influencer marketing, and branded filters, which are effects that can be put on photos and videos.”
Snapchat in the Social Media Industry
Snapchat plays a massive role in social ecology today. This quote by Ginette Verstraete (2016) puts into perspective Snapchat’s place in the social media industry; “In contrast to other social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, its user-generated content is automatically deleted after a short period of time. This capacity for self-deletion has stimulated youngsters to upload “snaps” in real-time that are often intimate, spontaneous, insecure, and blurry (p.2).” To elaborate, this indicates that Snapchat is a highly used app which runs closely with Facebook and Twitter but offers a more intimate interaction with users. Consumers tend to be much more open with their body and environment when using Snapchat as there is a sense of security knowing that what you upload is only temporary as Snapchat’s regulations only allow you to upload a story for 24 hours or send a photo that lasts up to 10 seconds. Whereas if you post on Facebook Or Twitter, the photo is up there forever.
Snapchat is the only photo-sharing app like it in the social media league, but it is still highly competitive with big companies such as Instagram Facebook, and Twitter. Billings, in his text, Snapchat, “Social Media, and the Shifting Motivations of Sports Fans (2017),” explains that Snapchat continues to secure a larger share of both the social media market and the more specified sports media landscape, meaning that segments of the sports industry are more likely to adopt Snapchat-friendly policies to attain fandom within the most attractive demographic for advertisers. We can see that Snapchat in fact does have large competition with other social media companies, however, it still remains at the top when it comes down to specific fields of interest such as sports.
This diagram displays the Snapchat ecosystem.
Figure showing the Ecosystem Map of Snapchat, Created by Jake Blundell
Has Snapchat Transformed our use of the Internet?
Snapchat’s ephemeral social media platform has transformed our way of using the internet on a daily basis. “While at first social media were persistent in nature, enabling users to re-visit content, in recent years a new type of social media platforms emerged: ephemeral social media platforms (Nimwegen, 2019, p.2).” This new online communication strategy has allowed consumers to converse beyond local boundaries and offers new opportunities to exchange content such as photos and videos (Nimwegen, 2019, p.2). “These platforms display content for a limited period of time and use the burn after read principle. This ensures that shared content self-destructs after a period of time set by the sender (Charteris, Gregory, and Masters 2014)” (Nimwegen, 2019, p.2).” This new and innovative way of online communication that is ephemeral content, has become a prominent component of our social ecosystem and is vastly growing not only in Snapchat, but with within other platforms such as Twitter, Facebook Live, and Instagram Stories.
Below is an example of Snapchat’s influence in the internet transformation; Twitter implicating ephemerality into their platform.
Today, Twitter will be rolling out a format globally called “Fleets” that allows users to share text, photos and videos that vanish after 24 hours. https://t.co/0yfFsDFzKU
— CNET (@CNET) November 17, 2020
Ephemerality is not only a tool used for social media. “Recently ephemerality found its way into the business environment. Applications such as Confide adapted Snapchat-style messaging into something more formal (Nimwegen, 2019, p.2).”
Snapchat has had a huge impact on internet transformation. Their use of ephemerality in the platform has triggered other large platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook to follow in Snapchat’s footsteps. Ephemeral content has changed the way users post. It has influenced us to upload more intermate content as we know that it will disappear within 24 hours and we have a sense of security because of the limited period of time and the use of “the burn after read principle” (Nimwegen, 2019, p.2).” It has made our home environments become an accessible and valuable part of a more personalised experience for other users who are viewing their content. Snapchat has changed the way we aspects of our life at home, work, and play.
Below is a short clip of why ephemeral content has created more engagement from users and how it has benefited the Snapchat company.
Businesses capitalise on the masses of people using this application and use that to their advantage when it comes to advertising. Not only has it change various business models but it has transformed the way that these big social media companies make revenue, which in turn, has an impact on the content users view as Snapchat makes most of their revenue through ads. Moreover, these ads change the way consumers buy and sell goods online as the advertisements persuade us to purchase or view items we so desire.
Alhabash, S. (2017). A Tale of Four Platforms: Motivations and Uses of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat Among College Students? Social Media + Society, 3(1). https://doi.org/10.1177/2056305117691544
Rowlett, J. (2018). Selfies and Sensationalism on the Campaign Trail: A Visual Analysis of Snapchat’s Political Coverage. Visual Communication Quarterly, 25(2), 82–92. https://doi.org/10.1080/15551393.2017.1388724
Mahfouz, A. (2017). A CLASSIC AMERICAN DEPARTMENT STORE’S RESURGENCE TO GLORY: USING SOCIAL MEDIA AND ONLINE ADVERTISING STRATEGIES TO GENERATE REVENUE. Southern Journal of Business and Ethics, 9, 180–192. http://search.proquest.com/docview/2015736882/
Rice, L. (2019). Snapchat and civic engagement among college students. Journal of Information Technology & Politics, 16(2), 87–104. https://doi.org/10.1080/19331681.2019.1574249
Ginette Verstraete (2016). View of It’s about Time. Disappearing Images and Stories in Snapchat. Retrieved 16 November 2020, from http://www.imageandnarrative.be/index.php/imagenarrative/article/view/1342/1087
Billings, A. (2017). Permanently Desiring the Temporary? Snapchat, Social Media, and the Shifting Motivations of Sports Fans. Communication and Sport, 5(1), 10–26. https://doi.org/10.1177/2167479515588760
Van Nimwegen, C. (2019). Effects on cognition of the burn after reading principle in ephemeral media applications. Behaviour & Information Technology, 38(10), 1060–1067. https://doi.org/10.1080/0144929X.2019.1659853
Allen, J., & Hallene, A. (2018). Digital Evidence. American Journal of Family Law, 32(1), 21–24.
Tropp, J. (2019). Users’ Definition of Snapchat Usage. Implications for Marketing on Snapchat. The International Journal on Media Management, 21(2), 130–156. https://doi.org/10.1080/14241277.2019.1637343
The Internet Ecosystem | Gris Global. (2020). Retrieved 19 November 2020, from https://grisglobal.org/the-internet-ecosystem/#:~:text=The%20Internet%20Ecosystem%20term%20implies,with%20dispersed%20ownership%20and%20control.