Snapchat Journalism

All too often, we learn of revolutions in police states of third world countries from citizens on social media. This week, the stories and images online looked like a world away but unfortunately it was close to home. The stories of Ferguson, MO became national stories as they were shared by media and citizens on social media.

AP Photo

As the evolution of journalism continues on social media, storytelling through real-time mobile video is the latest shift. On Thursday, filmmaker Casey Neistat traveled to Ferguson with Vice News to cover the story for 24 hours. If you are not familiar with Casey’s work, check out his acclaimed YouTube channel to view.

In recent months, he began using Snapchat to share video stories and later posts to his Snapchat Stories YouTube channel. Instead of putting words in his mouth, I’ll let him explain:

Casey has shared Snapchat stories from the Crabman Triathlon to restaurant reviews to how to shoot a title sequence. If you thought Twitter, Facebook and Instagram felt close; then Snapchat puts you in users’ living rooms. The same can be said for journalism as Snapchat is now being used as a tool. On Thursday, Casey used Snapchat to provide unfiltered access within Ferguson. Here is a video of his Snapchat stories posted to YouTube:

Following Casey on Snapchat Thursday, I felt inside the events of Ferguson for the first time. The general public has gotten closer and closer to the news through the advancement of technology from newspapers to television to social media. As I followed along, I tweeted the following:

Within minutes @CaseyNeistat retweeted my post. As is typically the case on Twitter, users began to engage about Snapchat as a functional platform for journalism. Below are some of the highlights from the debate:

The conversation on Twitter continued, but what I took away was the reminder that social networks are simply tools. From individuals to brands, we all have access to these tools but how we use them is how we tell our story.