Snapchat a growing trend
Published: Monday, October 29, 2012
Updated: Monday, April 22, 2013 19:04
When freshman Emma Grey misses her friends from home, she does not log onto Facebook or Twitter to talk to them. Instead, she uses a free app called Snapchatto sendthem apicture they can access for no longer than 10 seconds.
Grey said that the short picture shelf-life makes Snapchat appealing.
“I like it because you can send embarrassing pictures of yourself to other people and you won’t get upset because you know it will delete itself soon,” Grey said. “It’s easier than other social media sites if you want to get something quick across.”
Snapchat, founded by recent Stanford University graduates Evan Spiegel, 22,and Bobby Murphy, 24,started out as a project for one of Spiegel’s classes when he was a product design major.
According to Spiegel, since its start in Septemberof last year, Snapchat has steadily gained a following from the handful of people who first knew about the app. He said 15 million “snaps” are currently shared between users each day, and this week the app debuted on Android phones.
Spiegel said he got the idea for Snapchat when he saw a crucial emotional component missing from mainstream social media. He said most sites forced users to create an online persona that differed from who they were in real life, which changed the way they interacted with their friends.
“When we first created it, social media sites had a lot of boring content,” Spiegel said. “People were worried about looking pretty, their gorgeous vacations, pictures of their dinner; it felt like you didn’t really know your friends. In social media sites, they have to have a sort of identity online, and they end up losing something.”
Spiegel said Snapchat allows for more openness since the images are gone after a few seconds.
Sophomore Helena Gaitan,who usesthe app along with 15 of her friends, said Snapchat is useful for communicating amusing pictures. She said she likes that pictures cannot be seen for more than a few seconds.
“It's a picture that doesn't last forever,” Gaitan said. “You can look as weird, funny or bad as you want and the person you send it to can't do anything with it unless they know how to use screenshot.”
Spiegel said that the app is not made for privacy and the belief that they specialize as a privacy service is a huge misconception. The receiver of a picture can save it by taking a screenshot, he said, and the sender will receive a notification.
Spiegel said Snapchat does not misuse privacy information by selling it to others or sharing it without the users’ permission. He said he and Murphy are aware other services have abused their users’ trust and do not want to do the same.
Lon Safko,author of “The Social Media Bible,” said this app has a strong appeal to college-aged students because of the perceived privacy offered by the disappearing pictures shared through the app. He said the thought of completely private information in the Internet age is, unfortunately, a myth.
“What happens in Vegas stays on YouTube, Flickr and Facebook,” Safko said. “There is no such thing as privacy on the Internet. Everything is on a server somewhere, and all it takes is a hacker, accidental programming error, or whatever and suddenly all that information is out there.”
Sophomore Gizelle Pendangsaid she has been using the app every day with her friends since the start of the semester, and said they all like it because of the fun, easy way it allows them to share pictures of themselves with each other. Snapchat offers something different than other social media sites, she said.
However, Pendang said she thinks that despite the fun they have experienced with the app, the it is a passing fad like Words With Friendsor Draw Something.
“It’s silly, but fun at the same time,” Pendang said. “You see the picture, you laugh, and then you send another one right after, but it definitely feels like it’ll fade out over time.”