When I get a notification on my phone, a yellow app icon with a white ghost emoji in the center often pops up. I think everyone already knows about this application—it’s called Snapchat.
Snapchat is a multimedia messaging app that is used by millions of people around the world. It was created by Evan Spiegel, Bobby Murphy, and Reggie Brown and developed by Snap Inc. in September 2011. Similar to other social media apps, such as Instagram and Facebook, it can be used to text other people, take pictures or film videos with many filters, create private albums of snaps (simple pictures or videos), and find out where your friends are, among others.
[The official Snapchat logo]
I had been aware of Snapchat for many years, but it was only recently that I actually downloaded and used it, mainly because my friends recommended it so often. Before, I had mainly used Instagram. The first time I used Snapchat, I had trouble understanding why the app was so popular, especially in my school. Every time I saw a student on their phone, they were usually using Snapchat, and I couldn’t see what they liked about it so much.
When I first installed the app, I couldn’t decide who to add as a friend. I added all my close friends, but I was wondering whether I should add people who I know but am not close to. I eventually decided to add only people I know personally. I snapped them a picture, just to receive a response hours later. The late responses made me regret getting Snapchat. I thought, “If Snapchat is so popular, I should get responses in minutes!” However, the next day, a lot of people tried to add me as their friend, including people whose names I didn't even know. They snapped me often, and I got to know people at my school who I hadn’t met before. Also, I had fun increasing my streak (consecutive number of days of snaps between two users). River Erkenbrecher, a friend who likes to use Snapchat, says, “I like the group chats, because you can add things that only your group members can access, and only certain people can see in private stories. Basically, it’s easy to customize. Not me, but other people take so many pictures with face filters.”
|[An interview with River Erkenbrecher. Photo Credit: Jamie Talley]|
After using Snapchat for a couple weeks, not only have I gotten used to the platform, but I’m actually finding it quite entertaining. I got to know many new people, and got even closer with my friends. I feel a sense of satisfaction when I see my snap score (total number of points you receive for sending snaps) and streaks go up. Although I think many users use Snapchat for similar reasons, for me it was such a new and interesting idea for social media.
Over the years, Snapchat has become increasingly popular. Roughly 90% of Snapchat users are 13 to 24 years old, and 40% of teenagers say that Snapchat is their preferred social media platform. Snap Inc., the developer of Snapchat, stated that during the last quarter of 2019, the company amassed $561 million in revenue. (https://investor.snap.com/news-releases/2020/02-04-2020-210906650) Why is Snapchat so popular these days? What makes it different from other social media platforms?
I felt I could see the differences, although small, between Snapchat and other multimedia messaging apps and why Snapchat was becoming so popular. I think that I am using Snapchat more than I used to use Instagram or other platforms. It is not that I think the app is better than the others, but that Snapchat is more popular nowadays than other platforms, presumably because of its privacy; all messages are deleted automatically right after they are seen, and it is possible to track who took a screenshot of your stories or snaps. Also, the app makes it way more convenient to share your daily life with others. Snapchat makes sending pictures as simple as sending texts. River says, “I think Snapchat is really popular these days because the snap score makes it seem like a game, and it is so easy to not be traced; the pictures are temporary and it’s really private. I just think it is so much easier to use than other social media apps.” Overall, I believe Snapchat is becoming extremely popular for its privacy protection, fun experiences, novel ideas, and convenience.
Freshman (Grade 9)
Justin An email@example.com
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