I had a Snapchat account (@Davko1) when it was first in the news, but like most people, I downloaded the app, took one look at the interface (“yuck clunky and counterintuitive!”), and deleted it immediately because I didn’t understand it.
Recently I’ve come back to Snapchat, and in spite of myself, become a devotee. It started with reading a news article about DJ Khaled, the “King of Snapchat”, who has accumulated over six million fans within the span of five months (as of Feb 2016). Curiosity made me download the app, reactivate my account, and after a few days I was hooked. Why I like DJ Khaled on Snapchat is for another post, but the words “motivational” and “authentic” come to mind.
Snapchat is scrappy, unpretentious, unapologetically simplistic. You can’t even see how many followers your friends have. The main interface is a camera preview, which makes it disorienting to use for the first time. Snaps disappear after 24 hours, so you’re only as good as your last. That’s scary for professional content creators like myself, but I love the liberation of not worrying about perfection, about crafting a post just right, and curating just the right picture. Life is fleeting, so why the arrogance of believing every passing thought demands permanence? Say yes to doodles and weird AR (Augmented Reality) faces, say no to self-importance. You can of course do the Facebook thing and build a glamorous persona (and many do), but colorful hand scribbles and giant emojis just don’t fit perfect shots of a champagne life.
The rise of Snapchat at a time when people are sharing much less original personal content on Facebook, is perhaps a sign of the times, or a natural evolution of what social media means in our lives. We’re not sharing less of our life moments, we are sharing them more the way we feel they should be shared: Fleetingly and capriciously. For now that is Snapchat.
Snapchat today is a behemoth in the US and Europe, but still nascent in Asia, although rapidly rising in Southeast Asia. So if I am honest, there’s no business reason for me to embrace Snapchat, yet. Penetration rate in HK is single digit, it’s banned in China, and although some Asian clients are curious, we’re not planning any major campaigns in North Asia yet. Yet, yet…nobody said everything we do has to be about business. Sometimes I just want to create a snap of myself with bunny ears and share that for laughs.
Snapchat has given me a reason to be silly. For that I am grateful.