SnapChat…You know the app that all the kids are using to send sex-texts and nudies? Well here is the deal, I may have jumped on the SnapChat game late, but I have yet to receive a dirty SnapChat from a rando that you constantly hear about in the news. My loss? Possibly…But this article is not about how to try and get lucky. This article is about how SnapChat is showing us a preview of the Constantly Sharing (ConstaShare) world to come. I’m not talking about sending scandalous pictures to your friends, I’m talking about the qualities that define SnapChat. We will continue to see these qualities built upon in apps that have yet to come. The bottom line is SnapChat is currently version 1.0 of a ConstaSharing world that is on the verge of a breakout. Ok so what are these qualities I am talking about?
Lose the Friction Man
Send Images quickly - SnapChat prides itself on being able to send “MMS up to 10x faster.” Basically, SnapChat allows you to send a picture to a number of friends quickly. When you reduce how long it takes to send a picture you tend to send more of them. SnapChat goes further and let’s you draw and add comments to your pictures easily before you send them out. No filters, no fuss. The UX of this process is a beautifully basic one compared to a standard text message picture.
Possible Improvement – Taking a picture or video with SnapChat is about as easy as it gets. Any hope of less friction will have to come from hardware advancement.
One Group, Two Group, Red Group, Blue Group
Able to select a subgroup of friends – We saw it early with Google Circles and we continue to see it today – selecting subgroups of friends instead of broadcasting your media to the entire world. After a SnapChat is taken the user must pick who they want to send it to. Different pictures call for different crowds. This personal selection of friends allows you to have less inhibition and send more photos. When I say less inhibition, I mean, some people send some no shame, goofy photos.
Possible Improvement – Be able to select groups with one check box. Different groups for different occasions. Conversation threads between groups.
More Instant than Insta
Let’s take a little look at the trends in photo sharing…
Check out what is happening with the quantity of pictures being taken and the size of the group they are being broadcast to: More pictures are being taken and sent to a smaller group. People are sharing more real time updates and sending these updates to a closer group of friends. The future of this trend is a ConstaShare, small social groups constantly sharing what they are doing in real time with friends. “Oh this sounds like way too much work,” some critics might say. What do you think will happen when you are wearing a camera on your eye and sending a picture to friends is one button click away?
Hardware Improvements – So far up until this point people have had to take out their phone in order to take a picture and share a moment. It seems almost clear as day that Google Glass is the next advancement in this area. You will literally have your picture taking device at your eye already which will simplify this process even more. What would the SnapChat world look like if you didn’t have to take out your phone?
Non-Verbal Communication - Lastly I want to emphasize that these aren’t just “pictures” that people are sending to their friends, these are emotions/memories. The snaps are real life emojis that are being sent.
Emotions – A picture is worth a thousand words. Sending your standard text along with a facial expression you are able to get a message across that was not possible before. I have noticed that 50% of SnapChats are taken showing something external (what you are doing/seeing at the moment) and 50% of the pictures are faces (how you feel about something). What does this mean? It means that users are finding creative ways to get across a message that isn’t possible through words. This new avenue of expression is a very interesting topic to try and theorize the future of.
Types of updates – You would think that the only thing that was sent over SnapChat was pointless pictures of dogs and food. Although those do get sent, there is a huge range of pictures in addition to those. Every holiday, concert, birthday, vegas club, song on the radio, hike, you name it, initiates a flood of SnapChats that are sent displaying what that person is doing in real time. You get a 10 second glimpse of what they are doing at that moment. SnapChat is getting the world ready to start entering a ConstaShare environment.
Weird sexual pictures getting sent all over SnapChat? Sure. But to be honest, what channel of sharing didn’t have to get acclimated to it’s new audience in the beginning? What SnapChat is proving to us however is that people are willing to share very intimate random moments with a close group of friends. As technology allows moments to be shared more easily we will see a constant stream of shared information flowing between users.