Is Snapchat Here to Stay?

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Snapchat, the photo texting application that came to the app store last September has quickly become a phenomenon and a top application among the younger generation of smartphone users. But is it here to stay or is it just a fad? For those who don’t know, Snapchat allows the user to send photo texts to friends that appear on the recipients screen for up to 10 seconds and then disappears forever. Critics quickly jumped on Snapchat at its onset, noticing that it promoted sexting or the sending of nude photos under the belief that the pictures couldn’t be sent to anyone else or even kept. While this is obviously not the primary function of Snapchat, it has also served in that function, drawing criticism but also helpful publicity creating the craze for Snapchat that exists today.

Sexting-with-Snapchat

Regardless of why people are using Snapchat, users love it, and its userbase is growing daily. I just downloaded it myself and it definitely is more fun than sending normal texts. It compiles who your best friends are, determined by who you snap with the most and keeps track of your HISCORE, which is the total number of snapchats you’ve sent. While Snapchat is a lot of fun, I just wonder what the future of Snapchat will be. Will it become the future of texting, or will it remain in its current role as a fun app for those who want it? Or will it disappear altogether as a passing craze?

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I personally can’t see it overtaking text all together because there are always going to be times when you’re not going to want to/can’t take a picture of yourself. Like if you’re in class or a work environment, or you just woke up and you have bedhead. Those times where you still need an effective way to communicate will always make texting relevant. But will phone companies just phase out Snapchat by releasing their own picture based texting? Snapchat hasn’t exactly created a product that can’t be replicated. I imagine Apple, Samsung, and Google will either buy Snapchat or just release an alternative that comes preloaded into normal texting. What do you guys think of Snapchat? Would you consider downloading it if you haven’t already and what do you see as its future? Thanks for reading!

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26 responses

  1. Great post John! I downloaded Snapchat a couple of weeks ago and I was really into it and liked it a lot. After a couple weeks though it started to get a little old, especially when you’re sitting at a table and all your friends get the same group Snapchat (not a fan of the group snap chats haha). I actually tweeted an article about Snapchat last week and how it has become the biggest No-revenue mobile app since Instagram, which is crazy to think about!

  2. Hmm, I’d vaguely heard of Snapchat before but have not tried it. Seems like their business model is on shaky ground given the lack of sustainable differentiators. For example, if iMessage (or any native text program or other app) was revamped to allow the option when sending Texts to have them disappear after 10 seconds and not be able to be saved, why would iPhone users use Snapchat anymore? Seems like they’d have everything Snapchat has in the iMessage. Unless they have some special patent, if I were Google/Apple/Verizon/etc, I wouldn’t acquire them – I’d just copy/innovate on texting services and voila, done, game over for Snapchat.

    Now what would really be interesting is digital rights management, much like Apple does with iTunes songs. If you could slap that kind of protection onto photos, preventing them from being saved/copied, at least you’d go a long way toward preventing people from taking a text message sent to them and sharing it quickly to friends/family/the world.

  3. Snapchat definitely fills the void for weird or otherwise awkward moments that texting can’t fill. By using Snapchat one immediately agrees to open themselves up to weird photos. Once on the app, anything is fair game. Subconsciously I think people all experience this on the app. In terms of staying power, I can’t really say. What if Snapchat alters our perception of texting, and we just return to the old service using snapchat like photos?

  4. Great post! I have personally been a fan of Snapchat for a little over a month now. At first I definitely thought that it was just going to be a trend, and didn’t really understand the point of the application. However, as more and more of my friends begin to download the application it becomes more entertaining and fun. The application is still extremely simple, and I wonder if as it gains popularity they will make it more complex and add more features. Currently you can send the same snap to multiple people, but there is no way to know who else is receiving those snaps as well, or see their reactions to them. Snapchat may choose to add a more conversational feel to the app, although the only problem there is that part of the application is that everything disappears once it is seen for the set amount of seconds. Another flaw in the application is that they advertise that no one can save or screenshot the pictures, however, if they are set to be seen for a long enough time, people can take screen shots of the pictures and save them. They might want to work on that flaw if they have any updates on the app in the future!

  5. Interesting. I am, however highly doubtful that the pictures ever “disappear” completely, as snapchat does not control the pipelines across which the messages are sent (although SMS does have much less permanence than other channels). I can see some ANONYMOUS hacker in a few months releasing a whole cache of embarrassing snapchat pictures. But, it does give more flexibilty then current standards, where it is always stored by who knows whom.

    1. I joked to my friends this weekend that there is a hacker in a dark room laughing all day at the embarrassing Snapchats everyone keeps sending. Despite the fact that we all laughed about it, I did always wonder how they would protect the privacy of users who do choose to use the app for inappropriate images. After reading about the privacy policy of the company, it looks like they don’t do too much to get rid of any photos floating around after they are “deleted” off the user’s phone. Their privacy policy states that they “cannot guarantee that the message data will be deleted in every case” and “Messages, therefore are sent at the risk of the user”.

  6. I do not think Snapchat will be around for too long, but I think it mainly depends on legal issues. LIke others commented, I think it could take a big hit if a messaging service like iMessage came up with a feature like Snapchat integrated into the text messaging. So I think that there is that issue and then the fact that Snapchat could just be very popular now but die out by summer, it seems that apps are doing that all the time. I have Snapchat and it was fun for a week or so but I felt like I had to work too hard just to communicate with my friends–I don’t like taking pictures every couple of hours but I know people that do and they love Snapchat! Also, the screenshot issue is extremely problematic as that undermines the whole point of Snapchat. Thanks and great post.

  7. I do not see Snapchat sticking around for too long, but to be honest it is still way to early to tell. The product is still growing and has yet to reach a point of maturity to determine if people will stick with it into the future or simply move on to the next cool app. I personally have yet to download the app, but with more and more of my friends telling me i need to get it soon i don’t know how much longer i will be able to resist.

  8. I can definitely see the temporary text feature being implemented into phone plans sometime in the future. It is an interesting concept, sending a message that only exists for a set amount of time. It almost negates the concept of “once you send it it is always out there.” I was an avid snap chat user for a while, but I have noticed that I am using it less and less lately. I’m sure the Snap-Chat fad is nearing an end, its only a matter of time before people become bored of it.

  9. John, great post. I hadn’t heard about it before. Sounds like something fun, but the kind of thing you grow tired off.
    One thing that I doubt is that the pictures disappear forever, they might “vanish” from the receiver’s smartphone, but they surely “remain” elsewhere… it is just a matter of time until some very embarrassing pictures start circulating and someone sues them.
    The great question mark is how will they monetize this? I am kind of skeptic about this fun apps that can’t generate any revenue, still waiting to see how FB is going to make a return on the $1B investment in Instagram.

  10. Great post John. I havent jumped on the SnapChat craze yet but it seems like everyone around me is doing it 24/7 (someone is actually Snapchatting a picture of me as we speak). I think it is an interesting form of social media because while we are creating content there is no permanence to that content and, in that context, how does that differ from what we traditionally think of as Social Media. I also wonder if this lack of permanence is what is leading to the app’s popularity. We have spent so much time during this class talking about how we need to watch what we do on social media because it lives forever on the internet and maybe this is a natural reaction to that feeling of permanence. Regardless great post and Im glad someone cover snapchat.

  11. Just this weekend, I was asked by what seemed to be the billionth person as to why I don’t have Snapchat yet. My response has always been, “What’s the point of only being able to see a picture someone sends to you for three seconds if it’s not a ‘sext’?” For the record, I don’t sext, nor do I think that’s the only reason why users should use Snapchat. Personally, I like to analyze a photo and look at it for some time, as opposed to be given a short amount of time to view a picture of my friend sticking out her tongue (which I question as to why she sent it to me in the first place). Also, like Prof Kane and Kseniya have pointed out, do these pictures disappear? In addition to all this material being stored somewhere, what about the users who just take a screen shot of the picture when they’re viewing it? Based on the application’s popularity, I totally think companies like Apple and Google will roll out with their own version in the near future but I don’t see any added benefit, unless the companies were to then integrate it with other photo sharing sites or possibilities. Thanks for the post – I’m currently downloading it and will begin using it in class! 😉 Nice job.

  12. Personally, i’m amazed someone’s managed to create another type of text communication. Snapchat really promotes the selfie and ‘wake up in the morning, bed head look’ like you said John, and that’s why I like it! It has a different feel to it than regular texting does, like how Twitter and Facebook ‘feel’ different for posting. I only just got the app a few days ago but can see myself using it more. It’s not really so great for things that you actually want your recipient to see. I thought about snapchatting a friend a picture of the Boston Music Awards this past Sunday while I worked, but realized a regular text was probably better. It’s great for sending something witty to friends, more comical in feel overall than a regular text. I think it’s carved out a good niche for itself and is probably here to stay, at least for a little while.

  13. Splendid blog post! I personally am a HUGE fan of snapchat. I do often find myself having very brief conversations through it and it’s way more fun than regular texting. It’s also kind of funny because most people don’t seem to know that you can see who their top snapchats are. I just downloaded the app probably about 2 weeks ago and my friends list has probably quadrupled over those 2 weeks as more and more people get the app. I do not think it will replace texting given the extremely short character limit, but I could definitely see a snapchat feature being incorporated into future smartphones.

  14. Great blog post–I somehow knew someone would blog about this app for this week since it’s growing so suddenly. I heard about it when one of my good friends downloaded it and told me to download it. I am now a frequent user and although it’s a fun, quick way to send a photo, I don’t see the fad lasting very long. Of course, this application would only survive on the level of network effects it generates (no one would use it if no one else used it). I see issues particularly with differentiation. Anyone can send a picture message straight from their phone using regular picture messaging and I unfortunately see it as an application that will phase in quickly and phase out when people get tired of it. Thanks for your insight on this–I know I was definitely interesting in learning more about it and why it’s becoming so popular.

  15. nice post. Correct me if i’m wrong but hasn’t multi media messaging been around for more than a decade? surely the ability to send photos through txt messages is nothing new? The messaging on the iphone allows this, whatsapp allows it, heck pretty much any communication allows it. I don’t fully see what’s so new about this service. Furthermore, like you said, there is no way that this can replace normal txting as most things need to be sent by writing. I can’t ask someone to pick me up by sending them a pic of me. Or ask someone how they are or if they want to come over etc. This app just seems like a fun feature but will probably fade after a while.

  16. I’ve been seeing both guys and girls taking selfies in the library, in dining halls, and around campus these past couple weeks and I love it. I personally think it is hilarious and hope that it will last. I think it provides a sense of confidentiality for sending funny, but occasionally embarrassing, pictures that people do not want to have come back to haunt them. When uploading a picture onto social networks such as Instagram or Facebook, people will spend much more time selecting and editing pictures that others will see. With Snapchat, this is not necessary because after 3 seconds, it’s gone forever. Great post John.

  17. the revolution of the SELFIEEEEEEEEEE!!!!

  18. I’m so glad you wrote about Snapchat. Lately, I feel like it’s the only app I’ve been hearing about. The first time I heard about Snapchat was just a few weeks ago when I visiting my brother at the University of Michigan and all of his frat brothers were raving about how awesome it is. While I can see the benefits of the app, I have to admit, I just don’t find it that cool. Then again, I didn’t like Twitter when I started using it in Computer in Management and now I’m addicted … I wonder if Snapchat will have the same effect?

  19. SnapChat is one of the apps that I feel is a complete fad. I personally didn’t see the point of SnapChat until I started joking around with my friends by sending photos to each other, especially to friends at BU during the BC-BU hockey game (which we dominated!). I think it is only applicable for those funny moments where no real information was communicated. When the girls sitting in front of me continually used snapchat for selfies to send to their friends, I became increasingly annoyed. Because it serves no real purpose other than sending funny pics to your friends, it is easily replaceable by another app. I think its decline will fall just as quickly as its rise in popularity.

  20. Snapchat is changing the way we socially share pictures. Before snapchat, you would NEVER see anyone take an embarassing picture of themselves… and then upload it for their friends to see. The time limit on snapchat really allows users to feel confident and share anything and everything with their friends. As people have already said, it’s only a matter of time before this user trust is somehow destroyed. If users ever feel like their photos could be kept or seen by people outside of their intended recipients, I can see how this new fad could completely stop in its tracks.

  21. Oh, Snapchat. It’s defined my circle of friends this past semester, as we’re guilty of sitting around and Snapchatting photos of each other to friends who aren’t present or even to each other. What I’ve really appreciated about the app is that it has allowed me to share random, simple tidbits with friends who are abroad. I’ve spoken to some of them, and they’ve told me how they’ve felt close to us, despite the distance between us, since we’ve been sharing our moments with them through photos on Snapchat. They’ve been able to stay in the loop, even if that loop only includes silly photos with drawings and captions. I think what defines my group of friends is our ability to find a common ground in the humor that Snapchat has to offer. It has definitely brought a new dimension to our friendships.

  22. Haha, snapchat. Lots of fun. I use snapchat with my friends every day. It is kind of a dumb and basic application though. I mean, other than the fact that the pictures are gone as soon as they are sent/viewed, how is it any different than sending a picture message with a caption to it? I guess there isn’t one. Yet for some reason, when I see the snapchat banner notification I find myself getting excited and need to view it immediately. I think you’re right, since snapchat is a free app right now, and the fan base is growing so fast, I think that the company will need to sell the app because it has not, and probably will not be able to generate a profit. I also think that Google, facebook or Apple would all love to have the app under their roof, at least so the others can’t claim it under theirs. I do however think it will be a strong app for years because it is so loved by people right now, and until something can replicate/better it, it will continue to be used.

  23. Snapchat truly is a step toward the future. I completely agree that service providers and operating system writers will have a built-in option for temporary pictures or texts in the future. In addition, I think texting as we know it will be a thing of the past very soon. Things like BBM, iMessage, and some third party messenger services will take over, as the regular texting-over-network has become slow and clunky, let alone when you don’t have service. But as long as the d***-pics stay away from my phone, I’m fine with Snapchat.

    P.S. I heard a girl this weekend say, “half of the stress in my life is directly related to waking up with 20 snapchats to look through.” What is this world coming to???

  24. I heard about snapchat a few weeks ago but haven’t brought myself to get it just yet but I think I might soon. If I did however, I think I would see myself using it only to joke around with my friends-it is this reason why I don’t think that at least I would actually ever be able to replace it with texting. Just the fact that it deletes your texts right away is a problem since I have referred to texts in my phone one hundred times if someone sent me an address or if I want to read them a text that someone sent me. Even to prove what time someone sent me something is something that would never replace regular texting for me. Its definitely a cool app but I am not sure that phone companies will try to integrate this feature into their standard services, perhaps for the reasons you mentioned including promoting sexual-violent content. It may lead to problems for this reason. It also may be something that will create more cyber bullying.

  25. […] is being over used and either boring you or getting you into trouble.. Is it worth it? Will we all get sick of it soon? I’m not sure…let me know what you think and answer this […]

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