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Snapchat not just for sexting

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Joni Lindes's picture

 Young social media users have learnt the inevitable truth- that what you put on social media stays there. That is why, when Snapchat was launched at the end of 2012, it became the perfect tool for 18 to 25 year olds to share photos or videos with their friends and not have it haunt their lives forever.

 

Snapchat is a mobile app allowing users to share photos and videos with their friends via personal messaging. Once you send a snap, it self-destructs after a few seconds, wiping it from social media history.

Its photo and video features make it perfect for sending sexually suggestive photos and videos that disappear after a few seconds, but this is not the main attraction. According to Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegl, nudity is not the typical thing Snapchat is used for. Spiegl says Snapchat usage generally falls off from 11pm, before sexting “primetime”.

In my opinion,  Snapchat, is, in actual fact, a great way to be yourself online and share it with a limited few for a limited time only.

Way back in 2007 I set up my first facebook account, and let’s just face it, much of my facebook posts I made then make me cringe in embarrassment now. An app which deletes the stage wHen I UsEd cApiTal lEtTers in the mIDDle oF a SenTenCe immediately has my attention.

Employers look potential employees up on their social media accounts so that tweet after four tequila shots is now a permanent stain on your CV. The “check yourself before you wreck yourself,” mantra applied to facebook and twitter no longer exists for Snapchat.

That does not mean that snapchat images and video cannot be used against you. Most Smartphones allow users to take screenshots, so make sure whoever you send a photo/video to can be trusted.

In January this year, 4.6 million snapchat usernames and phone numbers were leaked. Snapchat was hacked by Smartchat DB. They used a recently published Snapchat API exploit to access the photo-messaging app's usernames and phone numbers. They wanted to reveal the exploit in the Snapchat system.

Even though they have some kinks in the system, I still think Snapchat has opened possibilities for a younger market. Snapchat allows you to choose the people you share with so I am not sharing content with that random person I met five years ago who could not care less about me now,  I am sharing content with whoever I choose.

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has praised Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel for creating a new niche in social media. He called it a “super interesting privacy phenomenon.” Facebook has since been eager to add Snapchat to its collection by offering Snapchat owners $3 billion for the private photo and video sharing app. Zuckerberg’s offer was turned down.

Snapchat is also a marketing tool that has proven to be effective in holding the young market’s attention, at least for ten seconds. This is a lot longer than what they get from the average Twitter or Facebook scroller. They can only view one message at a time and many do view promotional material. 58% of college students were more likely to purchase a brand or product if they were sent a coupon on Snapchat.

Business-wise, Likeable Media, a social media marketing company in New York, used Snapchat as a recruiting tool. Applicants were required to send their CVs via Snapchat. They had ten seconds to make an impression.

So forget emailing your CV or uploading photos on Facebook, Snapchat is a personal and private method of communicating for a younger market.