About photographs and videos of 10 seconds. #theydontrepresentus
Snapchat: that app that has become extremely popular among young people of the country (and the world) which lets you send photos and videos of up to 10 seconds, which the receiver can see only once and then “self-destructs”. To this simple but effective idea that was so loved we add the component “Story”. Instead of sending the photograph to someone in particular during 24h you put it live, and all your contacts can see it.
Now finally, to add the entire functionality, expand the concept of “story” into Our Story, a story created by those who are in the same area when an important event happens, and then it is visible internationally in all the world’s mobile phones. During weeks, months, we’ve seen Snapchat stories of important events and especially major cities (and some not, so fair to say), where its citizens show during 24h the rest of the world what a beautiful city they’re living in.
I remember the first one we had, how could not be otherwise, New York. It lasted a few days, but because it was so great. Tourists and residents showed their day to day, what they did, what they visited, all in videos and photographs of 10 seconds. It perfectly captured the lifestyle in those small fragments of lives that come together to create a unique channel of distribution, basically, of the need to visit again the City.
We saw this repeated in San Francisco, Toronto, London and even Ibiza, although the latter actually happened almost unnoticed by the lack of content in the story (unfortunately, I guess because most were not visible to the public).
And finally, after so long, the expected filter shows you something amazing of the near future: “Tomorrow is Barcelona live.” When I saw it, I suddenly changed the face: “Finally! Finally we will have our very own story! Finally we’ll be able to take all those pictures and videos of our amazing city, and everyone will see them!” And yes, I expected to finally be able to sneak an international subtle spot of @skibeta, let’s be honest.
And the day arrives, yesterday, May 28th. When taking a picture or video, you could select the story “Our Story Barcelona.” I had an exam but I spent all the ride by subway to the University thinking where would I take the snap, what I would say… And that’s how we did it, really subtle: Enric and Francesc were with their Macs “starting-up”, Xavi around there, and a “forgotten” bag by Skibeta (for sale at Collection) and the stage of the magnificent Faculty of Mathematics. It HAD to appear in Barcelona’s story.
But it didn’t. Neither this one, nor did the one we took from Francesc’s phone nor any of the adorable stories that my friends did as I had imagined this day. But what was on the story if not this? Tourists acting as tourist and drinking. This is it. This was THE story yesterday in Barcelona. 214 seconds of tourists on the beach, the Sagrada Familia, Parc Güell, sangria, beer, a flamenco singer at the Born, chupitos with fire and some images at Primavera Sound. Nothing else. This is, according to Snapchat, Barcelona.
I refuse, however, to think that none of the other million and a half inhabitants of the city sent any story more “normal” and real like the ones we saw from NYC “road to work.” What happened then? I fully understand that there is a control about what is put on the live story. A story of more than 250 seconds in total is tiresome and therefore should the photos be selected, and also to avoid profanity, images of poor quality, etc. But this selection so diverted from the reality of the city (beyond the world of tourists), seemed sad. This was the image that we showed to the world, and really, it makes me sad.
I suppose that expectations are not always met. I expected 250 seconds that shined the eyes of all those who contemplated them. What we actually got was, almost, making some livers of those who are planning to come to the city be scared to death, for sure. And thinking about how adorable was the image of “Starting-up from Barcelona’…
Originally published at aleixramia.com on May 29, 2015.