Article by: Kyle Kim
On September 2011, the revolutionary social media application Snapchat was born. To some, Snapchat may seem like your average chat platform. However, what makes Snapchat different from other social media is that the images, videos, and messages that are sent by an user can only be accessed by the recipient for a limited amount of time. Thus, even if it was created amongst other strong competitors in the social media industry, Snapchat managed to stick to the hearts of many people and it continues to thrive today. In fact, Snapchat has grown to become one of the most used social media application, producing millions of dollars annually.
Initially, people were quite surprised by Snapchat’s success. Some asked questions such as, “what is the point of sending images when they only last for a few seconds?” or “can’t you just screenshot an image anyways?” However, this portion of Snapchat is only a small sector of the application’s capabilities. In 2013, Snapchat underwent an update that allowed users to create stories: a collection of images and videos that are shared with all of a user’s contacts for 24 hours. Another addition to Snapchat’s features was “Our Story”, a public collection of photos and images shared by multiple users at large events. This feature allowed any user to look into ongoing events throughout the world such as New Years, Valentines Day, or even concerts and basketball games.
Then on January 27, 2015, Snapchat updated once more and added the function “Discover” to its already extensive list of features. Through “Discover”, Snapchat users are able to easily access information from networks such as CNN, Discovery Channel, and the Food Network all through a single page exposing education, knowledge and entertainment to the young demographic. Rather than watching comical videos or scanning through embarrassing photos of friends, Snapchat’s audience can now view “Inside North Korea” by Vice or watch clips of animals in the Saharan Desert by the National Geographic.
Snapchat users at ISM seem to be very supportive of this new “Discover” update. According to Sophomore Soo Yeon, Snapchat has truly “redefined itself, and provided more uses for a seemingly useless application.” Others like Sophomore Jiwon find it “very weird that Snapchat will display these programs.” But like Seo Yeon, Jiwon thinks “it’s very cool and new in a sense that Snapchat is going towards a different direction.”
Overall, Snapchat may not be as useless as some people may have perceived. Through its new updates, the application has clearly begun to connect people on a much deeper level. In fact, with the new 2015 update, Snapchat may be regarded as a viable source of not only entertainment, but also education.