How Snapchat Keeps it Real in 10 Seconds or Less
These past few weeks have been crazy.
I won 1st overall at the World Yo-Yo Championships in Tokyo. Spent some time basking in my victory by the pool at the Ritz Carlton South Beach in Miami. I crossed continents and toured a vineyard in Bordeaux, France. Hitched a ride to the Big Apple and people-watched while strolling through Washington Square Park. I threw a cut on and went to Bike Night in Fort Worth, TX... and STILL had time to go blueberry picking in Sharon, MA.
Okay, so maybe I didn’t literally do all these things in all those places…
But it sure feels like I did!
That’s the power of Snapchat, which is quickly cementing itself as my favourite social media platform out there today.
With a legitimate community that is honest, supportive, creative and genuine, my “Snapchat Fam” is everything that’s right about social… all in 10 seconds or less.
So what is it about Snapchat – the platform that a lot of people “just don’t get” – that has helped it become part of my daily ritual? Are there certain qualities about the UX itself that make it more enjoyable to consume content on? Of course, I have my reasons for loving the time I spend viewing Snapchat stories and creating snaps myself… but I figured I would ask my community for some assistance.
And it wasn’t long before the responses began to roll in…
Because you see… that’s the amazing thing about Snapchat. People seem to share the closest, “realest” versions of themselves while they’re on here. I’m not 100% sure if it’s the simplicity of holding down a button and sending 10 second sneak peaks at your experiences or if it’s the number of people who take the time to respond or engage with their community… but there’s an amazing sense of belonging being fostered here.
The fact that so many people were willing to offer their thoughts and ideas as to what makes this such an incredibly satisfying platform speaks for itself, really. While there were so many quotables, here are a few of the overriding themes that many of them featured:
- “My favorite aspect of Snapchat is engaged storytelling, combining text, photos and video… with the ability to communicate to/with the masses and individuals simultaneously. Snapchat combines the three best aspects of Social… Storytelling, Conversation and Sharing. Snapchat users LOVE to share… the content created there is being shared everywhere. In summary, Snapchat is a microcosm of what all social should be from an engagement/conversation standpoint.” #RonR #NoLetUp – Ted Rubin a.k.a. tedrubin
- “I love Snapchat because it’s not only a way to tell stories on purpose, but it also frequently shows random pieces of people’s day-to-day lives that wouldn’t make the cut for other social networks.” – Christin Kardos a.k.a. christinkardos
- “Snapchat is an extremely useful social platform you can use to tell YOUR story. Fun, easy-to-use, great way to show off your personality through video.” – Kayla Chatkiewicz a.k.a. kay_chatz
- “I like Snapchat because you can be the real authentic you – plus, you can post all those pictures that you want to post on Instagram, but you don’t want to spam your friends!” – Brian Fanzo a.k.a. isocialfanz
As you can see, the community is incredibly supportive and jumps at the opportunity to engage and support. While that’s certainly one of the reasons that I enjoy Snapchat as much as I do, here are some others:
It’s hard to tell great stories on a regular basis. Most brands have begun to recognize the importance of connecting their customers to their products through the power of story. As a social platform, Snapchat has literally built this art form into the very fabric of its basic use. The “Snapchat Story” is starting to become something I study closely, and not just because I find a lot of them to be entertaining. There’s something absolutely fascinating about being able to see the world through another person’s eyes… and not just the world in general… but their world.
And some of my friends on Snapchat are showing just how interesting the stories they have to tell on a daily basis are.
It’s even at the point where some Snapchatters are such great storytellers that I know I can’t open their snaps unless I’m in a place where I can pay attention, listen with sound, and follow along. I’m pretty confident in saying that I never really feel that way on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
At the end of the day, stories connect us as human beings. In fact, I believe in that so strongly that I’ve explored it previously on Matt Black Ink. The fact that Snapchat has provided us all with an outlet to create a daily story for the world to live and relive is truly something special.
There’s a certain vulnerability on Snapchat that you just don’t see on other platforms. Whether it’s candid moments with children or family, daily routines as people go through their commute to work, or just enjoying some great conversation with friends, authenticity reigns supreme here.
There’s far less “staging” as you click through people’s Snapchat stories. You can’t help but feel an element of realism while you put yourself in someone else’s shoes. I can learn much more about a person watching them speak for 10 seconds or less than I can from a static image on Instagram, or a tweet for instance. Not only are you looking into their eyes directly, but you may even be seeing what they’re seeing, basically as it happens.
Brené Brown said “Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we’re supposed to be and embracing who we are,” and I think that captures the essence of Snapchat’s brilliance and part of what makes it so addictive.
Snapchat removes the mystery from the world outside of our own.
Instead of having to wait and hear how a friend’s big job interview went, I can just hop on Snapchat and let him or her tell me before and after it’s finished. Back in the day, if I wanted to take a tour of San Francisco, I’d have to save up the money and hopefully make it there myself. But thanks to Snapchat, I was just on one this past Labour Day Weekend… while sitting on my couch here in Toronto.
The idea that we are living each other’s experiences in essentially real-time isn’t exclusive to Snapchat. But reading a tweet or even seeing a photo on Instagram simply doesn’t strike me the same way as a snap does. Being on Snapchat offers viewers such a sense of realism, gives them a real feel for the environment that they’re observing. These are moments that offer us all an opportunity to travel to different parts of the world and get a sense as to what’s going on in a specific place at any given time.
One of the key elements that hooks me on Snapchat is the fun people have while they’re using the platform.
Tell me: when was the last time you saw a snap that made you feel unhappy?
Honestly, I’m not sure I’ve ever experienced that. But I’ve definitely been upset or bothered by things on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other platforms. And that’s certainly not to say that Snapchat is immune from these types of things!
But my Snapchat community is so steeped in humour, happiness, celebration, success, family, friendship and creativity that every time I click on a snap, I have come to expect a positive impact on my day. And really, that’s what social media should be – building great relationships that allow you to grow, help others and have fun.
Whenever I want to escape the echo chamber that Twitter can sometimes be, or the self-indulged, selfie-world of Instagram, I click the ghost and know that I’m going to enjoy what I hear and see.
What is it about Snapchat that you enjoy most? How do you see Snapchat evolving as time goes on? Please share your thoughts with me in the Comments section below.
*A very special thank you to everyone in my Snapchat community that contributed to this piece. I genuinely appreciate your enthusiasm for this great platform and for your participation. Special shout outs to Snapchat users: keysclaudia, ahnahendrix, amomblogs, mamaphillips11, klaudiajurewicz, vincentorleck, twinvsleo & rachelloumiller.*