Snapchat is dope. Let's start with that, but, admittedly, I was not always a fan of the app nor its adorable little dancing ghost mascot. In fact, I downloaded it for weeks without using it. The only reason I downloaded it to being with was because my girlfriend at the time was obsessed with it, and I had to know if the hype was real. In my initial experience, it wasn't. I only followed 3 people. Those 3 people were my best friend Isaiah, Elizabeth, my girlfriend at the time, and Roderick, my brother. Once I added those people, I noticed a few more people added me that I'd met previously over the years. I didn't follow them back. I didn't think I'd stick around long enough to find it necessary. For a very long time, I simply did not understand the need for conversations to be had explicitly using not-so-pleasant faces with one- to two-line captions. Call me old-school, but the good ol' text was enough for me. It wasn't until the Stories feature debuted when the app really caught my interest, and I began to reevaluate the app's potential.
"if it weren't for Snapchat, I would have otherwise assumed [people] had no interest in my daily life."
As a music producer, I immediately started using my story as a means to promote a behind-the-scenes look into some of the tracks I was working on (something I do to this day). There was only one problem, however. I still only followed three people. From a business perspective, I wanted more exposure. The first thing I did was follow back the people who added me when I first got on the app (I'd decided I wouldn't be deleting the app after all). After that, I went on a befriending-spree, running down my list of contacts, adding some people who I hadn't spoken to in years (I'm quite bad at deleting old contacts from my phone). I was also an early adopter for using cloud storage to sync my contacts back in the day, so there were hundreds of people from many years prior still listed in my phone (This is one of those rare times when it came in handy). I was surprised by not only the number of people who added me back, but also by the percentage of people who viewed my stories on a regular basis. People who, if it weren't for Snapchat, I would have otherwise assumed had no interest in my daily life.
As my followers went up, I diversified the content of my snaps. I still did a lot with music, but I also began to add commentary on my daily perspectives of the world. In many ways it became a way for me to free my mind and clear my thoughts. It was cool building a small community of followers, especially since I was quickly losing interest in Twitter (I'll write about my downfall from Twitter some other day). Snapchat sustained many relationships that I feel I would have otherwise lost. It's not like Facebook, where you have a sea of vaguely familiar faces. Snapchat takes you into people's everyday lives—beyond the cliche status updates and selfies we've grown accustomed to on other social media. That's what I love the most about it.
Now, allow me to be real for a second, if I may. Snapchat, like any app, is not perfect—far from it, in fact. Sometimes, the geotags and filters fail to render properly. Sometimes, my stories fail to upload. Sometimes, my camera simply refuses to work in harmony with the app itself, yielding the most unforgiving black screen I've ever seen in my life (if you've never experienced the last issue, hopefully, you never will). As one of my design instructors once said, "design is a process. If something works great the first time, that is luck—not design." I may have paraphrased a bit. Regardless, I find the quote fitting, given the context.
"They now have scary-good face-detection algorithms."
All bugs and crashes aside, Snapchat has only gotten better over the years. They now have top-secret face-detection algorithms, which have enabled the notorious canine selfie to flood the net. It may even rival the immaculate Facebook's facial recognition software one day, which is now more accurate than the FBI's. There's also Memories, which allows not only a way to save all your drunken stories to the cloud without using up precious internal storage, but it provides a way for you to bring content to the mix originating beyond the scope of the app itself (an important feature to compete with Instagram, especially since they blatantly ripped off Snapchat's story feature).
If you couldn't tell by now, I really love Snapchat. There are very few apps that I engage with on a daily basis. In fact, I will be covering those apps in an upcoming post. Somehow, that eccentric ghost has won my inner geek over, swooning me with it's subtle, but oddly satisfying dance moves. I look forward to seeing how the app I once despised will develop as the company continues to add new features and grow their user base.
What is your opinion about Snapchat? Share your thoughts in the comments below!