I was late to the Snapchat game. A holdout one might say. I discovered Snapchat my first-year at UNC-CH, which would have been the fall of 2012, and I didn’t give the app a chance. To be honest, I thought Snapchat was going to phase-out before I could make a joke about a sophomore slump.
It wasn’t until the summer of 2013 that I gave in and downloaded the ‘white ghost over a yellow background icon’ on my iPhone — mainly because I had a friend going abroad and I wanted to keep up with his travels. I had waited almost a year, and rather than Snapchat dying, it was gaining popularity. It’s now 2015, and Snapchat is continuing to attract users. Still, I hear many people say that Snapchat will soon die out. I, however, am more optimistic than ever about Snapchat’s future.
The first successful move to stay relevant was the introduction of My Story. I credit that feature for the continued growth of Snapchat well into the late part of 2014. However, what has since excited me for Snapchat’s future is the Our Story feature.
Our Story allows those who are at a certain event to upload photos and videos from said event that are then shared across the world to anyone who has Snapchat. There are many debates on what citizen journalism is and if it’s good (shoutout to any The Newsroom fans), but I would argue that Our Story falls into the “good” category and is one of the purest ways someone can share information from an event. Something else I like: Snapchat has not made the Our Story feature exclusive to US events but has rather opened the doors to the world for everyone to see with untarnished, unedited (besides filters, I hear you) photos that show exactly what is taking place at that moment in time.
For example, a few weeks back, Snapchat set up an Our Story for Makarsankranti — a traditional Hindu festival celebrated across India that is famous for kite flying. I had heard of kite festivals in India before, but never Makarsankranti specifically. It was absolutely beautiful to watch hundreds of kites fly through the sun-departing skyline. Check out this Buzzfeed listicle of photos captured from the event on Snapchat.
I think this is the future for Snapchat — the geo-located Our Story feature. Some of the highlights so far have been the Melbourne Cup, College Football Game Day and the numerous music festivals around the world. My personal favorite is Our Story – College Campus edition. Unfortunately, Snapchat only kept that around for a short period of time.
The word FOMO is thrown around a lot; but talk about capitalizing on one’s fear of missing out, Our Story does it better than anyone else. Snapchat needs to continue to grow the Our Story feature and offer more events worldwide. If it was up to me, I’d bring back the College Campus edition full time.