As a relative latecomer to the social media scene, Snapchat remains somewhat elusive and confusing to some online media observers and enthusiasts. Interestingly, and unlike others in the social networking space, Snap Inc. currently self-identifies on its website and in its recent SEC filing as “a camera company.” Late last year, Snapchat changed its parent company’s name to Snap, Inc. We learned of the company’s plans for an initial public offering (IPO), which were met with mixed reviews. Some financial analysts expressed concerns over Snap’s profitability, especially as a fledgling network with a comparatively smaller user base. Not only does Snapchat act like a social media platform, but it is also the retailer of highly-specialized eyewear called, Spectacles (https://www.spectacles.com). These fashionable and rechargeable smartglasses enable Snapchat users to wirelessly film and post up to 10-second video spots of the subject they’re viewing.
Facebook has demonstrated its ability to compete directly with other social media and online platforms. The largest global social network has similarly demonstrated that with a wealth of resources at its disposal, it can innovate and pivot with unique nimbleness. In March, Facebook announced its plans to launch a personal fundraising tool which will allow users to raise money in specific categories for a fee. Also in March, Facebook announced the release of its new camera, which mimics many of the same visual features that have become hallmarks of the Snapchat experience.
Snapchat is five years young and clearly doesn’t have the behemoth following that Facebook enjoys. With that in mind, however, Snap continues to demonstrate leadership in innovation. Following are some basic facts about and characteristics of Snapchat:
- Snap, Inc. reported 150 million daily Snapchat users in late 2016. As of this writing, its website reports that 60% of daily active Snapchat users create snaps each day.
- Snapchat users can send video and picture messages, or snaps, to friends or groups of friends. Groups of up to 16 participants can participate in online conversations. Group snaps that remain unopened after 24 hours are systematically deleted. Once a snap is opened, it disappears.
- Visual enhancement filters allow users to be creative with their snaps. The lenses option allows users to add special features to their snaps. Text, emojis, captions and doodles can also be added to snaps. If you’ve seen images of people wearing silly or funny masks in other media, it may well be a snap taken using Snapchat lenses. Favorite snaps can be stored in a section of the app called, Memories.
- Stories are a compilation of user snaps that allow friends to view what other Snapchatter friends have been doing over the past 24 hours. Snapchatters can delete snaps at any time.