The smiley ghost we all know and love burst onto the scene in 2011. Born of a simple desire to send photos that would not be permanent, the app quickly garnered a large following. As of September 2016, Snapchat had over 150 million daily active users globally and is one of the most popular social media applications in the world.
In a digital age where almost every post is seen as a permanent declaration into cyberspace, Snapchat offers something different. The ethereal, fleeting nature of images and messages sent via Snapchat more closely resembles traditional conversation than seemingly permanent posts.
The University of Michigan executed a study in 2015 to further understand the relationship between the app and college students. The research in this study focussed on social support, partner closeness, and mood. Unsurprisingly, face-to-face interactions generated the most positive mood. Snapchat conversations were found to be the next best thing, beating out texting, email and Facebook (Psychology Today).
Rather than encouraging users to share carefully curated content (as per Instagram, Facebook and, in a sense, Twitter), Snapchat is very much about the process of being a real person. Do you remember all the parts of the conversation you had with that person at the party on the weekend? No. Neither does Snapchat. Do you remember what your friend’s outfit looked like yesterday at lunch? No. Neither does Snapchat. Do you remember what embarrassing social taboo an intoxicated version of yourself made when chatting to that cute fellow on the weekend? No. Neither does Snapchat.
With even Stories having only a brief shelf life, Snapchat allows users to slightly indulge in the curation culture that is offered by its social media competitors but relieves the pressure of creating a seemingly near-perfect presentation.
It seems that every day there’s a new reason to analyze the effect of social media on our interactions. When trying to connect with people in the busy hustle-bustle of our modern world, Snapchat’s ability to create an experience that closely resembles real-life interaction offers a pleasant solution.
Kevin, Manager of Studio Engagement
Psychology Today: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/happy-trails/201612/snapchat-the-jekyll-hyde-social-media