Understanding Snapchat

A Journey That Left Me Feeling Out of Touch

Samer Farag
Nov 21, 2013 · 3 min read

Snapchat’s creators refused a three billion dollar offer by Facebook.

Three. Billion. Dollars.

I reacted to this news pretty much like the rest of the Internet — what the hell were Snapchat’s creators thinking? Who in their right mind would pass up that kind of money? They would never get another chance like this again, of course. Snapchat is just a passing fad. It’s going to die soon!

…Right?

Come to think of it, I’d never really put in any time to get Snapchat, had I? The literal hundreds of millions of pictures sent every day seemed to have passed me by.

So I decided to give Snapchat a shot. Here’s what I learned about it.


It’s Ethereal.

The first thing I recognized is that Snapchat goes against the tide of data collection and permanence that’s considered par for the course on the web. “Once it’s on the Internet, it’s on for good,” as they say.I see the value Snapchat can have in this sense. In a world where comments, texts, and tweets are forever, it is refreshing to know that I can send a “snap” without fear of repercussions. People lose their jobs because of what they post on their Facebook pages. Snapchat could help deter this from happening.

It Demands Your Attention.

When receiving a Snapchat, I realized that I was spending every second of time given to me drinking in every detail of the photo before it could disappear. The way Snapchat works subsequently changes the way media works — requiring you, in turn, to change the way you consume it. Instead of lingering over a photo, as you would on a social network, you delve into it, and relish it for the moment it exists. Singularly, and for however brief, it becomes the most important thing in the now.

It’s In.

Facebook is on its way out. Everyone seems to think so, and now it’s only a matter of when. Like Myspace, Digg, and any number of Internet Behemoths, something new will always take its place, and Snapchat is that next thing. Facebook knows this — that’s why it tried to buy Snapchat in the first place! Snapchat is what the ever important young adult demographic uses, because it’s “cool”. Simple as that. Which leads me to my last point…

It’s Not For Me.

Technology is as much a form of culture as anything else in the world. And just as one generation didn’t understand the ripped jeans thing, so too do I think that I will never truly “get” Snapchat.


But I believe the issue is that those who don’t understand Snapchat label it as “not having value.” In what sense? The same conversations were had over Facebook and Twitter, and those seem to have stopped. As Dan Primack of Fortune states, “[The] disconnect is that many adults have been conditioned to view social networks as records of activity. Not as fleeting interaction.”

So yes, the times, they are’a changin, as always. But after using Snapchat, I’m nothing but excited to see where it goes, and what impact it will have on the way we view social networks. And while it may not add value to my life, I recognize that, with all its use, it has to be adding value to someone. That’s what’s most important — whether I understand that value or not.

Samer Farag

Written by

Writer of all kinds, mostly of the bleep and bloop variety.

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