Some Snapchat Feedback
When Snapchat’s Head of News, Peter Hamby, spoke to our Digital Media class last week, he asked for feedback from us regarding Snapchat’s interface. As an avid snapper, (and as a requirement for class), I’m excited to give my two-cents on of my most used pone applications.
As a student journalist, I tend to stick with more traditional outlets for my news, minus TV news. (I can’t remember the last time I watched a television broadcast.) I subscribe to the Boston Globe’s website and receive daily emails with the main headlines and any breaking news.
On Twitter, I follow many mainstream news outlets such as The New York Times, NBC, Reuters and more.
I also use Facebook for more political and popular culture updates — the trending feature gives me a good sense of what’s happening around my home state as well as celebrity updates.
Apps on my phone such as Snapchat and Instagram let me keep up with my friends — Instagram’s interface is great for showing artsy, more detailed and notable events or sceneries while I use and watch Snapchat stories for immediate, fun and dispensable updates.
Although I don’t regularly check the Discover feature of Snapchat, I explored it a little to see what kind of content I can find there. It’s definitely a fun interface — the swiping and features are really easy to use and well designed — but in terms of usability, I don’t see myself relying on the content for news or information, but more something to explore for kicks.
Because the content definitely has a more “fun” side to it, I would cut down on the options, for stories — there are too many options and it takes a lot of clicking around to figure out which content you want to read. Less options and more focused or themed material might make it more interesting and easier to go through for the user.
Of all of Snapchat’s features, the live story tab is by far my favorite — they are fun, easy to watch, and often times inform me about events that I would not otherwise know are occurring. I think there is so much potential for educating and updating users about different cultures, places and events through these stories.
Some of my favorite lives story topics have been the featured cities, Ramadan and election coverage — the information snippets are really interesting and add a lot to the stories.
Because these are so fun, I would like to see an option for sharing the stories or finding them elsewhere on the internet. It’s often disappointing how fleeting those moments are, and although I appreciate the live, 24-hour aspect of Snapchat, I would definitely like to be able to see that information again.
Overall, Snapchat is definitely a fun platform to use, and it gets better with every update. As users become more familiar with the interface, I see a lot of potential for more serious content. Just a round-up of daily news events (similar to the headlines of a daily newspaper) could be a really interesting path for the platform. It could also be a good way to promote the “explore” option, leading the user to a certain “discover” spot, and getting more people to use that feature regularly.
Either way, Snapchat’s success is a positive message for the worried journalists out there — I think it’s creating a new type of user-inspired journalism and has the potential to reach a different demographic than many traditional news outlets.