“Sexting on Snapchat may be less common than you think” proclaims a recent Huffington Post article on the popular social messaging app, which debuted as Picaboo in July 2011. A study from the University of Washington found that 60% of Snapchat users primarily use the app to send “funny content,” and secondly, selfies. Only 14% admitted to sending sexts over Snapchat, and 1.6% claimed to do it regularly. To give you some more history, in 2012 around 25 images were reportedly being sent per second, and in early 2014 Snapchat stated that its users were sending a total of 700 million “snaps” per day. All of the data is based on information collected by the company, who have decided to not disclose the total number of actively monthly users.
One of Snapchat’s latest features, Snapchat Stories, was released in October 2013 and allows users to publish pictures/videos for their “followers” to view anytime over a 24 hour time period. In June of 2014, Snapchat stated that the stories feature had passed the original snaps feature, with over one billion viewed per day.
As you can see by now, the app is exploding, and only becoming more and more popular. With it’s success comes monetization and companies hoping to prosper through this new social channel. Well prosper, or exploit; either way.
In a brilliant example, an account named “Rio Live” surprised Snapchatters all over the world with user submitted and curated posts from Brazil on the day of the 2014 World Cup final. What a great concept and way to show the world what it was like in Rio that day. This feature is officially called “Our Story” and shares group posts from many users into one large Snapchat story. You can see another example of this below from the Electric Daisy Carnival music festival in Las Vegas utilizing the feature in the “Our EDC Story.”
Increasingly companies are hopping on the bandwagon, and spammers are finding their way into your feed. Most (intelligent) companies will create a story account where users have to find their account to opt-in. But we also see (unintelligent) companies mass-snapping scams, coupons and ads to phone screens worldwide.
Furthermore, we’re beginning to see a trend in viral snapchatters. These typically twenty-something year olds will film a bunch of stupid stuff, or spend way to much time drawing on their screens (see below), on their way to over a million views. Being able to follow the lives of your favorite celebrities and athletes in this way is an exciting thought, though. To those of us who support the Falcons, the Atlanta NFL team have recently jumped on board! (RISE UP)
Going back to the UW study, another interesting finding was that taking screenshots of the snaps, which the app does notify, does not violate your friends’ trust. The majority of users didn’t care and were expecting screenshots, or found it funny that the picture was saved for later. This is how I usually feel, otherwise I’ll send any possibly embarrassing pictures to my friends for only 2-3 seconds to ensure they can’t screenshot.
I look forward to seeing the future developments in Snapchat, and hope that they prioritize a separation between consumers and businesses. Anything that opens up for ads and B2C communications will likely become congested and lose popularity.