For our study of technological evolution we will be researching Snapchat. Today Snapchat is mostly used by young adults communicating with their friends. We will find how this app started and the predecessors.
Snapchat fits the idea of Web2.0 because it aligns with the idea of ‘architecture of participation’. Snapchat is a Web2.0 medium because it gives users the ability to control the content and the app relies solely on users to work. Some statistics showed that more than half of daily contribute content. Web 2.0 is identified as companies facilitating user-generated content and capitalizing on users. Snapchat is exactly that because it provides a platform for users to communicate and interact. Plus, the user-capitalizing factor of photos lasting for only a few seconds draws consumers in. Prior to Snapchat, no other App had the same idea of photo’s being able to be seen for such a short time then disappearing forever. The idea of photo sharing had been present for along time, with apps like Facebook, MySpace and simple text messaging. However, Snapchat is an innovation over these other photo sharing mediums, because it is the first application to provide a private method of sharing pictures.
Snapchat is utilized by a large span of people, but a majority of its users are younger and part of the age that interacts with technology 24/7. Culturally, Snapchat is used by cultures that have immersed technology into their daily lives. For example, Americans have brought technology into their daily routines and Snapchat is an App that would appeal to them, because it is an addition to their technological use. There is controversy that surrounds Snapchat’s idea for its app. A lot of people question if the pictures that are sent over the app actually are erased forever. Users are able to ‘screenshot’ a photo sent over Snapchat, which they then have in their albums. On their website, Snapchat does claim to regulate the content. The company outlines various offenses and concludes with explaining that users who violate any “rules”, an account will be terminated.
The idea for snapchat was first born at Stanford University in the spring of 2011. Evan Spiegel, the founder of Snapchat, and two friends created the idea during a product design class when they were juniors. The idea developed further over the course of the summer and the platform truly took off in fall. Spiegel’s idea revolved around the concept of disappearing pictures. He realized that people didn’t always want the messages they were sending to be around forever. The platforms that proceeded this, such as text messaging or even Facebook did not cater to this need, and that is where Snapchat stepped in.
However, Snapchat would not have been as successful if it were not for their early adapters. Snapchat was created right when all age demographics started to join Facebook. This social media platform was no longer a place for only teenagers to communicate. They therefore needed a new app that would allow them to interact away from the prying eyes of their parents and grandparents. This is why Snapchat was the perfect switch. It was new and innovative and older generations had not caught on yet. They were also able to send pictures and messages with few repercussions since they would soon disappear.
The platform continued to gain momentum as the Snapchat team made new innovations and changes. In the fall of 2013, after they had about 10 million active users, they introduced Snapchat stories. This allowed users to share snaps with all their friends for 24 hours. This change put Snapchat in the spotlight and Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, took note. He offered to buy Snapchat for a whooping three billion dollars. Spiegel declined the offer, however, seeing how much potential the app still had. Geofilters were soon introduced and soon after Snapchat’s “discover” was created. Discover is Snapchats way of advertising. Companies can pay to be featured on the discover page. These innovations and more have led Snapchat to the forefront of social media today. The platform is now so big that it rivals Facebook. Everyone from Kendall Jenner to the White House are making use of the app. And with it being the fastest growing app today, we can’t wait to see what’s in store.