Snapchat: My Story

Last week, I was lucky enough to participate in a Skype chat during my Digital Storytelling and Social Media class with Peter Hamby, head of news for Snapchat. We learned about the app’s burgeoning hard news coverage and discussed potential roadblocks or innovations as it looks to corner the millennial news market. Here are my two cents on keeping Snapchat 💯🔥:

My News Diet 😎

To be honest, my news consumption practices vary greatly depending on my schedule. I read much more online when I’m working on co-op (a co-op is an internship on steroids) than when I’m in classes for the semester. This should not be shocking, as I have much more time to sit at a computer when I’m working than when I’m taking four classes and participating in campus activities.

The commonality is Twitter. I’ve curated a list of journalists, activists, bloggers and academics over the past two or so years that I trust and enjoy following on Twitter. This makes trying to “keep up” much more fun. I stay away from traditional news organizations on Twitter, because a lot of their content feels canned.

Facebook is my safety net: I know that even if I don’t check Twitter for a few days, the major stories will pop up in my newsfeed, or now in the Facebook trends. Lastly, I signed up for breaking news alerts from The New York Times a few years ago, and every time I get one I consider unsubscribing. I consistently find them really annoying.

Discover on Snapchat 😊

When Snapchat first came out with Discover, I was excited and looked through the different offerings for the first few days. After that, it faded to the back of my mind. I do not feel compelled to swipe over an entire page to get the full list of Discover stories, and the ones featured on Snapchat’s main story page (with My Story, Live stories, etc) are not very intriguing to me.

Part of my problem is I feel a disconnect with CNN or National Geographic when they enter an app like Snapchat, like they are trying too hard. It is more apparent to me than ever that they really want my views. I also only gave Discover a chance in the beginning, when the publishers were not fully in-tune with users. I remember feeling like their introductions were too long, and I did not understand how to skip over content. That said, Cosmopolitan’s hot guys of Hanukkah series was very popular with some of my friends.

Live stories 😏

I love Snapchat Live stories. They really transport you to fun or interesting events around the world in a way the written word just cannot do. I also often wonder how the Live stories are chosen, which is a good gauge of my engagement.

If I had to theorize, I would guess Snapchat has come out as the winner for video sharing, compared to apps like Vine, because of the network of friends users bring to the app. It is one of the few apps I open immediately every time I get a notification, because I want to respond in a timely manner to my friends. My friends and I also discuss the Live stories in person if they are really good, which is the biggest impact an app can have.

Final Thoughts 💛

I use Snapchat prolifically in my personal life, sometimes to the point I think it is too much for someone who is not thirteen. But I love it because it makes sharing mundane tasks exciting. It also really makes keeping in touch with long distance friends easier — a quick snap of something that reminds me of them is a fun and casual way of saying they are on my mind, rather than getting into an entire texting conversation.

I think Snapchat can do really great things for news coverage in the future, and it is off to a solid start with Live stories. I personally am more interested in watching that kind of content that Snapchat produces over a Discover partner because I view Snapchat as a third party with an interesting point of view. The behind-the-scenes feel of the Live stories is what I want from Snapchat, not a jazzed up version of a cable news broadcast.