Snapchat & Relationships

In my past posts I’ve discussed the “ins and outs” of Snapchat. I’ve described how Snapchat works, who uses it, and how they use it, so what’s next? Well, like any medium Snapchat affects certain areas in our life, even if we are unaware of it. For that reason the next question we must ask is, what effects does Snapchat, as an ephemeral, image sharing, messaging app, have on its users? Specifically, how does Snapchat affect its users’ relationships?

As a social media app, Snapchat is all about communication and people. So it’s fair to assume that out of all the aspects of our lives, Snapchat would have the biggest impact on its users’ relationships. Furthermore, it’s fair to assume in general that Snapchat may affect our lives in any way  just because of its sheer popularity. That’s why even though Snapchat is a fairly new and continually growing app, there have still been a few scientific studies on its effects on users, including its effects on relationships. One such study is by Sonja Utz, Nicole Muscanell, & Cameran Khalid titled Snapchat Elicits More Jealousy than Facebook: A Comparison of Snapchat and Facebook Us. In this study Utz, Muscanell, & Khalid looked into the impact on interpersonal relationships and the psychological effects both Snapchat and Facebook have on their users (source). What they found was that Snapchat actually elicited more jealousy than Facebook (source). Why compare Facebook and Snapchat you may ask, well researchers state that the two sites differences in visibility may effect jealousy (source). In fact, both sites are complete opposites when it comes to visibility and persistence (source). While Snapchat reaches a smaller group for a shorter amount of time, giving it low visibility and persistence, Facebook is exactly the opposite (source). Facebook is much more public than Snapchat giving it high visibility and persistence and making the two sites interesting to compare (source). For the actual experiment, researchers surveyed 77 participants from around Europe about their Facebook and Snapchat use and motivations (source). After, users’ jealousy and need for popularity were measured by asking them to indicate, on a 7 point scale, the likelihood they would get jealous on Facebook or Snapchat given a certain context (source). Researchers found that while participants tended to use Snapchat less and have fewer friends on Snapchat, both Snapchat and Facebook were used for the same reasons; mainly procrastination,  keeping in touch with family and friends, and seeing what people are up to (source). Researchers found that while neither site elicited extremely high levels of jealousy, Snapchat elicited more than Facebook (source). They found that participants were most jealous when a partner added or messaged a previous partner, or someone of the opposite sex they didn’t know, on Snapchat (source).  Jealousy was only higher on Facebook, compared to Snapchat, when a partner received a post on their wall from an unknown person of the opposite sex (source). Furthermore, researchers found that need for popularity was positively correlated with jealousy on both Facebook and Snapchat (source). In other words, users need for popularity seems to contribute to their jealousy on Facebook and Snapchat. So what does this mean for relationships? Overall, the study found that, “partner behaviors on Snapchat evoked higher levels of jealousy than the same behaviors on Facebook. Thus, people seem to be more distrustful if the partner chooses a more private channel for communicating with a potential rival (source).” According the study, because Snapchat users tend to only keep a small amount of close friends in their contacts, any activity involved in possible disloyalty, such as messaging a an unknown person of the opposite sex, makes people more jealous than if it were a more public site like Facebook where any number of people could contact you for any number of reasons. In the case of this study, Snapchat can actually have a negative effect on relationships by causing jealousy more easily than some other sites like Facebook.

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(source)

Another interesting study about Snapchat’s possible influence on relationship development was done by Justin Velten and Rauf Arif titled The Influence of Snapchat on Interpersonal Relationship Development and Human Communication. In this study 16 trained interviewers conducted interviews with 80 participants ranging from 18 to 60 years old, all of whom were Snapchat users (source). Participants were asked five short answer questions about their use of Snapchat (source). After reviewing the interviews, researchers first found that participants used Snapchat to intensify their relationships (source). Participants stated that “fun” pictures tend to be less awkward than texts and are therefore less likely to be rejected by he person they were sent to. That is to say that while wording can be awkward in texts, a shared image over Snapchat (with no caption) leaves interpretation to the receiver (source). Some participants even said that sharing images over Snapchat reassures the level of trust in their relationships (source). Next, researchers found that participants used Snapchat to reopen lines of communication with friends or family they had lost touch with (source). Participants stated that images shared over Snapchat acted as conversation starters that came off as less threatening than other forms of communication such as a texts (source). Velten and Arif state that, “after extended absences in real-life, sent images via Snapchat create a strong sense of presence without words jumbling the intention (source).” Furthermore, the study also found that Snapchat doesn’t just work to intensify and reinitiate relationships; it can also be used to maintain relationships (source). Velten and Arif state that, “Snapchat images provide an outlet for users to make clear efforts toward relationship maintenance (source).” Furthermore, one participant said that sending “stupid pictures back and forth” allowed them to feel more connected with people they don’t see every day (source). Other participants simply stated that they use Snapchat to strengthen their existing relationships (source). On the other hand, the study also found that Snapchat can play a part in deterring and ending relationships (source). Participants stated that intended or not, when people ignored their sent photos and videos on Snapchat it sent a clear message of avoidance (source). Participants admitted that it upset them when someone opened their Snap but didn’t respond (source). Some participants went as far as to say that it affected the nature of their relationship with the person who ignored their Snap (source). According to the study, lack of response on Snapchat could lead to a negatively affected relationship due to the feeling that the other person does not care enough about the relationship to respond (source). Overall, Velten and Arif’s study found that Snapchat can play a big role in engaging, building, reinitiating, and maintaining (or avoiding/ending) relationships (source).

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One last study concerning Snapchat and relationships was done by Joseph Bayer, Nicole Ellison, Sarita Schoenebeck, and Emily Falk. They did a study on the ephemeral (temporary) nature of Snapchat titled, Sharing the small moments: ephemeral social interaction on Snapchat. In their study Bayer, Ellison, Schoenebeck, & Falk identify Snapchat as a platform to share small moments of life (source). Furthermore they state, that while Snapchat may be similar to other photo sharing apps, they believe its ephemeral nature causes it to have slightly different effects (source). In the study, analysis of previous research found that mobile photo sharing, as done on Snapchat, “supports both relationship development and maintenance (source).” The first part of the study surveyed 154 undergrads at a large U.S. college on demographics and interactions on social media and mostly deals with emotions associated with using Snapchat (source). In short, they found that Snapchat was viewed as more pleasant and associated with a more pleasant mood than texting, email, and Facebook, but viewed as less pleasant than face-to-face communication (source). Researchers also found that the average closeness between the user and the person they were communicating with over Snapchat was about the same as with calling and texting, but higher than face-to-face, email, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (source). The second part of the study, and the part more concerned with relationships, interviewed 28 people from part one of the study on their social media use (source). This part of the study found some information on how people use Snapchat, which we already covered in my last post. However to summarize, they found that participants post snippets of their everyday life and feel then can post more because of the temporary nature of Snapchat (source). These users do not use Snapchat to share intense or serious feelings (source). The most important part of the study, for our purposes, starts with the fact that participants used Snapchat mostly to keep in touch with close friends and family (source). Researchers found that participants used the app to share meaningful content that was only quickly interpretable to close ties (source). Trust was also big part of who participants chose to interact with (source). Participants tended to refrain from sending the same content they would send to close ties to weaker ties for fear of being misinterpreted (source). Moreover, according to some participants, the ephemeral nature of Snapchat mimicked the ephemeral nature of face-to-face interaction in that once something is said in face-to-face conversation it cannot be saved except in memory (source). So what does this mean in terms of Snapchat’s effect on relationships? Well, essentially it lines up with what Bayer, Ellison, Schoenebeck, and Falk found in previous research: that Snapchat helps maintain and develop relationships, particularly with close ties (source). The majority of participants in this study used Snapchat as a way to stay close with family, close friends, and people they trust and because of this Snapchat may “affirm the preferential status of a close relationship (source).” To sum up, Bayer, Ellison, Schoenebeck, and Falk state that Snapchat may “serve to prime close relationships and expand feelings of personal trust (source).”

All of these studies are just a small part of the large world of media effects, but they work to give us a fuller picture of how Snapchat may affect its users’ and users’ relationships. As you may expect from any social media app, Snapchat can have both positive and negative effects, in this case on relationships. On one hand, Snapchat can intensify, reinitiate, maintain relationships, and build trust. On the other hand, Snapchat can cause more jealousy within relationships or even help facilitate the ending of relationships. We are nowhere close to fully knowing exactly how Snapchat affects us in our relationships, and our life in general, but with studies like these we are one step closer. At its heart, Snapchat is just another way for us to communicate and engage in our relationships and with close ties , possibly more easily, through fun and “non-threatening” photos and videos of our everyday lives.

Snapchat’s Adoption: Who, How, & Why?

In my last post I discussed how Snapchat works at a user level, its various features and how they can be utilized, but now the question is who is using Snapchat? How are they doing it and why? Basically, how has Snapchat been diffused and adopted since its creation? The first step to answer all of these questions is to look at how Snapchat has grown over the years.

Snapchat is such a household name these days it seems almost unreal that it was only launched 5 years ago in September of 2011 (source). Snapchat is undeniably successful these days with a reported value of $16 billion as of 2016 (source); which is a bit more than the $3 billion Facebook reportedly tried to buy it for in 2013 (source). In fact, Snapchat’s reported revenue in 2014 was $3 million, and it only continued to grow from there (source). The following years provided Snapchat with an estimated revenue of $50 million in 2015, a projected $366.96 million of ad revenue in 2016, and a projected 2017 ad revenue of $935.46 million (source). With an estimated growth of 57% in 2014 (source) and a user growth of 67% between December of 2013 and May of 2014 (source), I think it’s fair to say that Snapchat is capable of sustaining itself these days. In fact, a study on how users use Snapchat, “What do they snapchat about?” Patterns of use in time-limited instant messaging service, described Snapchat’s growth as, “one of the most rapid and unprecedented in the history of instant messaging services and social networking sites” (source). If critical mass is the tipping point when a company can be deemed successful then Snapchat reached it long ago.

Snapchat may be an incredibly fast growing and popular company, but it would be nowhere without the users who allowed it to become so successful. So who exactly is using Snapchat? Well, as of 2016 Snapchat is 150 million daily active users strong and is expected to expand to 217 million users by the end of 2017 (source). These users aren’t just right here in the U.S. either, people all over the world use Snapchat. For example, 60 million of those daily users are from the US and Canada, but another 50 million of those daily users are from Europe (source). Furthermore, Ireland is surprisingly the country that uses the app the most (source). In fact, 63% of Snapchat users in Ireland use the app daily (source). UK statistics show that 25% of UK smartphone users use Snapchat and 46% of teens in the UK, between 11 and 16 years old, use Snapchat weekly (source). Right here in the U.S., Snapchat reaches 11% of the digital population and 28% of teens say that, in their opinion, Snapchat is the most important social media platform (source). Statistics show Snapchat reaches 41% of people aged 18 to 34 in the US, and 32.9% of the same age group actually own a Snapchat account (source). One key point to grab from that particular statistic is that Snapchat’s reach is so broad that it even reaches people who don’t own the app or have an account. Moreover, 4% of internet users around the world use Snapchat monthly (source). If your head is spinning from all of the statistics I don’t blame you, but all you really need to focus on is that Snapchat reaches a lot of people all over the world.

We’ve established that Snapchat has spread and been adopted all over the world, but how has it been adopted among groups of people? I’m sure you’d guess that Snapchat is the most popular with younger people, and you wouldn’t be wrong. Both college students and millennials are big users of Snapchat; 77% of college students use Snapchat daily and 73% of Snapchat users are millennials (source). Furthermore, 71% of Snapchat users are under 34 years old with 45% between the ages of 18 and 24 (source). That being said, older generations do use the app. In fact, statistics show users between 45 and 60 years old spend an average of 13.6 minutes per day in the app which is only slightly less than the 20 minutes that users between ages 18 and 29 spend in app (source). Users 60+ are reported to spend an average of 6 minutes per day in the app (source). In terms of other demographics, 70% of Snapchat users are women (source) and according to a survey by the Pew Research Center teen girls were the most likely of all teen groups to use Snapchat (source). Furthermore, the same survey showed that teens from households earning $30,000 per year or less were least likely to use Snapchat (source). Another Pew Research Center report had similar findings; that teens from middle to upper income houses used sites like Instagram and Snapchat more, whereas teens from lower income houses tended to use Facebook the most (source). The report found that 14% of teens from households earning more than $75,000 a year said that Snapchat was their preferred site compared to 7% of teens from households earning less than $30,000 (source). The fact that Snapchat is so new really puts this statistic into perspective. I think its likely that Snapchat appeals to those from higher income houses because it is most likely in the early adopter or early majority stage of adoption. To summarize, Snapchat has spread all over the world to a diverse group of users, but statistically Snapchat has been more predominantly adopted by younger people (around ages 18-34), women, and people from higher income households.

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We know that Snapchat is used by a lot of different people all over the world, but what drew these users in? In other words how and why are people using Snapchat? Reports show that overall, 60% percent of daily Snapchat users contribute content to the app and 400 million snaps are shared per day (source). On average a whopping 9,000 photos are shared per second and daily there are 10 billion video views (source). Furthermore, a Pew Research Center study reported that 41% of teens use Snapchat to share images and video (source). These facts are all just the general traffic that Snapchat gets daily, what about the individual parts of Snapchat like Stories and Discover? Well, as of 2014 Stories was, and is most likely still, Snapchat’s most popular feature (source). In fact, 1 billion Stories are viewed per day (source). Live Stories also draw a crowd of around 20 million users a day (source). One of Snapchat’s newer features, Discover, draws 60 million users monthly and, on average, 110 Discover Stories are posted per day (source). In order for users to be able view all this content some users must also be posting it. Statistics show, 45% of users post Snapchat Stories at least once a week and 54% of users use Snapchat daily (source). Furthermore, on average, users are spending 30 minutes in app daily (source). Basically, users use Snapchat as you may expect: by sharing and viewing photo and video content.

I could leave it there and just give you the the general statistics of how users tend to use Snapchat, but in order to get a full view of what users do on Snapchat we need to get more specific. In the early days of Snapchat, you may remember, it was branded as an app used to share sensitive or sexual content, or “sexts”(probably because of Snapchat’s temporary nature), but certain studies defy that claim. One such report shows that, as of 2014, only 2% of college students use Snapchat to send “sexts” (source). Furthermore, researches Roesner, Gill, & Kohno did a study, Sex, Lies, or Kittens? Investigating the Use of Snapchat’s Self-Destructing Messages, that investigated Snapchat’s part in sending sensitive and even sexual content. This study surveyed 127 adult (18 years and older) Snapchat users and analyzed how they used the app (source). The study found that most users don’t actually use Snapchat to send sensitive, sexual material (source). In fact, only 1.6% of survey participants used Snapchat mostly to send sexts, while 14.1% admitted to having sent something sexual at some point but not regularly (source). The majority (74.8%) of participants actually indicated that they would not be willing to send any type of “sext” over Snapchat (source). The main finding of the study was that most participants used Snapchat for fun or to send “funny content.” Specifically, 59.8% of participants used Snapchat to send fun or funny content (source).

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(source: http://homes.cs.washington.edu/~yoshi/papers/snapchat-FC2014.pdf)

Another study that looks into the “how” and “why” users use Snapchat is “What do they snapchat about?” Patterns of use in time-limited instant messaging service by Piwek & Joinson. Similar to the study by Roesner, Gill, & Kohno, this study surveyed 209 Snapchat users on their use of the app (source). The study found that 47% of survey participants used Snapchat because their friends did, 17% used Snapchat because it’s fun, 8% because it’s free, 6% started using it just out of curiosity, 5% for communication purposes, and 2% used it for its privacy (source). When the study investigated what the last snap that participants sent was, they found that 48% of participants sent a snap for purely communication purposes and another 5% sent a snap just out of boredom (source). Furthermore, 40% of participants stated they shared something funny or personal (source), which is not too far off from the 59.8% who reported Snapchatting similar “funny or fun” content in the previous study (source). However, unlike the last study, the main finding of this study was that most participants used Snapchat to send selfies (source). In fact, half of participants reported that the last Snap they sent was a selfie and 63% of participants said a selfie was the last snap they received (source). Furthermore, statistics seem to support these findings. In 2014 it was reported that 50% of male college students, and 77% of female college students shared selfies on Snapchat (source). The same year, statistics show that 5% of selfies shared on social media overall, were shared on Snapchat (source). Aside from its findings on selfies, this particular study also looked at who participants sent Snaps to. They found that 73% of participants sent their last snap to one person; 55% reported that person was a close friend, 18% said it was a partner, and even fewer participants said it was a family member, coworker, etc. (source). Only 27% of participants said they sent their last Snap to a group of people, and 62% said that group consisted of close friends (source). Overall, users seem to have various ways they use Snapchat and for various reasons, but most predominantly Snapchat seems to be used to send selfies and fun, funny content.

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These studies are all very informative about how and why people use Snapchat, but they don’t necessarily give all the reasons why users have adopted and use Snapchat. Some statistics show that 35% of Snapchat users use the app because their content disappears, whereas 30% use it because their parents do not (source). Another motivation for some users could be that supposedly popular Snapchatters can earn up to $100,000 for posting content (source).  In the same vein, advertisers are starting to utilize Snapchat more. This decision makes sense when you consider that 58% of college students reported that they would purchase from a brand that sent them a coupon over Snapchat (source).

So what do all of these facts mean? Well, for a fairly new company, Snapchat has been adopted by many different people for numerous reasons and has been diffused all around the world. According to statistics, young people in their late teens to mid thirties, especially women, seem to flock to Snapchat as a place to share predominantly fun, funny content and selfies. In my opinion these facts really fit in with Snapchat’s image as a space where users can share random snapshots of their lives. While a few people seem to prefer Snapchat for the privacy that temporary media can provide, even more flock to Snapchat as a carefree space to share their lives with friends, partners, and family alike. While the company seems to be more in the early adoption or early majority stage, due to the income of those who use it the most, Snapchat doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. I think Snapchat’s wide success shows that this is only really the beginning of its adoption and diffusion.

What is Snapchat?

Snapchat has been taking the world by storm since its creation in 2011, so the million dollar question is: what is Snapchat? Upon first glance Snapchat seems to be a simple image sharing app similar to Instagram, but with its large popularity it’s hard to believe Snapchat is just a reinterpretation of a different app. In reality, Snapchat is a little bit more complicated than just sharing images. The company’s community guidelines describe the app as being about “sharing moments and having fun” (Snapchat Community Guidelines) and I think that’s the perfect way to describe this unique app.

The first step to fully understanding Snapchat is to know how it works and its functions. To do this lets break the app down into its most important parts:

Camera: At its heart Snapchat is an image and video sharing site, therefore opening up the app brings you to a camera-view screen with some pretty straight forward photo taking controls. Users can switch between the front and back phone cameras by pressing the rectangular button in the upper right-hand corner, change the flash settings by clicking on the lightning bolt in the upper left-hand corner, snap a photo by pressing the large hollow circle, or capture button, in the bottom center of the screen, and take a video by pressing and holding on the same capture button. These photos and videos are commonly called Snaps by users.

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(personal photo)

One truly unique part of Snapchat’s camera mode, and an aspect that draws a lot of people in, are Lenses. Lenses are essentially a way to take pictures, or Snaps, in augmented reality; users can take Snaps with dog features over their own, with a flower crown, or even with a tomato for a head. I would describe Lenses as almost like picture props in photo booths, but instead of being physically with you, they are digitally put over your face or used to morph your features. To use Lenses users start in the camera screen, press and hold on any face onscreen to make lens options appear, scroll through different lens options and follow any prompts that appear onscreen (like open mouth) to create cool effects, the last step is to snap a photo or take a video to share (Snapchat Support)!

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(source:https://support.snapchat.com/en-US/article/lenses1)

Other features that make Snapchat’s camera feature, and picture and video sharing, unique is that users can edit their Snaps in new and different ways. Users can draw on a Snap in different colors after taking it by clicking on the pencil icon in the upper right-hand corner. Users can simply add a bar of text to Snaps if they don’t want to draw by clicking on the Capital “T” icon. Also, by clicking on the notepad icon when editing a Snap, users can add unique stickers to their image. Users can even “pin” a sticker to a specific point in a video Snap so it moves with the recording (Snapchat Support). Filters and “Geofilters” can also be added to Snaps. Filters range from different colors to make Snaps look nicer, similar to Instagram’s filters, to interactive filters that show users their speed or battery life at the time the Snap was taken. Geofilters are another amazing Snapchat-specific piece of content; users can place filters over their Snaps that show their location in cool designs or even highlight specific events. So if you snap a picture on the Storrs UConn campus chances are there will be a Storrs or UConn filter you can put over your Snap to let friends know where you are or where the Snap was taken. In the same way, if you attend a wedding the couple may have a filter for the event for Snapchatting guest to use. Geofilters can even be created by users quite simply by following the steps outlined by Snapchat’s website (https://support.snapchat.com/en-US/a/odg-howto).

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(Source: https://support.snapchat.com/en-US/a/create)
(personal photos)

Chat: Clicking on the small speech bubble icon on the lower left of the screen takes users to the communication side of Snapchat. The unique sharing or Chat aspect of Snapchat is what really made it famous. Users can send a Snap to any of their Snapchat contacts by pressing the arrow in the bottom right, and selecting who they want to receive the content. Contacts appear in your contacts list and if you send another user Snaps often they might get the title “Best Friend” and a smiling emoji next to their name in your list. Where it gets interesting is that any Snap you send to a contact will only last for a certain amount of time from the moment the person receiving the snap opens it. If you send a photo to a friend you can designate, by clicking on the small circle in the bottom left, that the photo only appear on the other users screen from anywhere between 1 to 10 seconds (videos only last the length of the clip you take). Once the other user has viewed the photo or video for the allotted amount of time it can be replayed, but once the user closes out of the conversation the Snap is deleted and can’t be recovered (Snapchat Support). Although, users can still always screenshot a photo or video before It’s deleted. Chat can also be used just to talk in a format similar to texting. Users can comment on Snaps they were just sent, on a Snap from someone’s story, or simply just to chat without any photo or video content. Snapchat also added updates where users can video chat through Chat (Snapchat Support). I believe the temporary sharing nature of Snapchat has always been a big selling point for its users. Snapchat discusses in a blog post from 2013, which also explains temporary social media at length, that users feel fewer consequences in sharing content because it can’t be linked back to them in the future.

(Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rcou53X1uk4)

 

(personal photos)

Stories: By clicking on the pyramid of three little circles users can access the more large scale social media aspect of Snapchat. In essence, Stories are just another unique way to share photo and video content in a less personal way. As described by the company itself, “stories are compilations of Snaps that create a narrative” and appear chronologically in the order they are posted (Snapchat Support). Instead of sharing Snaps with only a few people of your choice, like in Chat, Stories appear to everyone who follows a user on Snapchat. For this reason stories are a popular way to keep up with celebrities and notable figures. Celebrities are even awarded an emoji next to their name to verify their identity and status. However, unlike Chat, Stories are watchable for 24 hours, and each Snap individually expires after it has been posted for 24 hours. Stories can also be watched multiple times, even after closing out of the app, unlike Chat. Users can keep up with recent updates in the “Recent Updates” section of the stories screen and only view Snaps they haven’t already seen or watch entire Stories in the “All Stories” section.

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(source: https://support.snapchat.com/en-US/article/view-stories)

Another feature on the stories screen is Live Stories, which appear between “Recent Updates” and “All Stories”. As explained by Snapchat, “live stories are compilations of snaps from Snapchatters at events and locations around the world”(Snapchat Support). Live stories are put together by Snapchat themselves and last for 24 hours like any normal Story. To submit to a Live Story simply click on the share arrow, and if your location services are on, choose the Live Story name you wish to post in from the list of contacts (Snapchat Support).

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(personal photo)

Memories: One of the newest additions to Snapchat is one that slightly changes their status as a temporary social media platform. Memories allows users to save Snaps for later use or even upload photos and videos from their phone’s camera roll (Snapchat Support). To save photos to Memories users simply click on the small arrow pointing down in the lower left-hand corner of the screen and  to get to memories users just have to swipe up on the screen or click the small circle underneath the photo capture button. Photos and videos in memories can be edited just like normal Snaps and can be added to your Story or sent via Chat at any time.

(source: https://support.snapchat.com/en-US/article/using-memories)

Discover: The last main feature in Snapchat is Discover. By swiping left in the Stories screen or by clicking the small globe of circles in the upper right of the screen, users can access Discover. Discover is a feature in Snapchat that allows users to view small entertaining articles made daily by actual publishers. Discover frequently features stories from Cosmopolitan, Daily Mail, Buzzfeed, People, etc. and also from some live events like New York Fashion Week. Press and hold on a particular Story or channel to get a summary of its content, or simply click on it to begin watching (Snapchat Support). Discover content could be either a Story or actual written content, and users can even subscribe to channels, by pressing and holding on the channel, to see that channel’s content as they would another users Story that they follow.

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Since its creation in 2011, Snapchat has been an innovator as an image sharing app. It’s no secret that Snapchat has really set itself apart from other similar apps like Instagram. On Instagram users can take photo and video content, filter it, caption it, post it, comment on other user’s posts, and keep content permanently (unless deleted). On the other hand, Snapchat takes a more creative approach to image sharing. Snapchat allows users to really personalize content and Snaps whether that is with a Lense, a filter or Geofilter, by drawing on their Snap, or adding fun stickers. Unlike Instagram, Snapchat isn’t about taking the perfect picture; it’s about taking fun and spontaneous Snaps of your life. Furthermore, as discussed in their 2013 blog post, Snapchat has really paved the way for temporary social media. No other popular app before Snapchat allowed users to share content with friends that would be deleted after a short amount of time. The short lengths of Snaps and their temporary nature make Snapchat feel more fun and have made them popular. So popular, in fact, that in one of Instagram’s latest updates it added a new feature that bears a striking resemblance to Snapchat’s Stories, but I’ll let you make your own opinion on that (Instagram Blog). In my experience, Instagram is where I go to share the beautiful, artsy photos and videos I take, Snapchat is where I go to share random, spontaneous updates about my day with friends or to try on fun Lenses. Furthermore, in a society that values new content and the “next big thing”, I think Snapchat really keeps up with its constant turnover of content; no one day on Snapchat is the same as the next. Snapchat attempts to let users share their life with people who aren’t always by their side, while still mimicking the temporary nature of life’s moments. The app does all of this while also incorporating ways for users to get news, read articles, and see what’s going on in the world with Discover and Live Stories in a fashion similar to Twitter’s “Moments” section. It’s all of these functions and features together that make Snapchat a force to be reckoned with.