Gosh, Facebook is so yesterday now for teens. Well, not so fast, but it could be happening. Slowly, it is hard to loose some billion people. Teens seem to be taking to more mobile friendly applications, Twitter is growing in usage, but what is booming is SnapChat.
SnapChat is a social media network (translation: you create a profile and connect with friends) that enables you to send photos to each other with a designation of how long that photo can be visible. Think of this as the “this photo will self-destruct in five seconds” type thing. Someone takes a ‘snap’ designates the receiver and how long the ‘snap’ can be viewed. Send the message, they get it and then it is gone.
Snapchat is one-on-one communication, more personal than texting or emailing as the content disappears. It’s the closest technology to a phone conversation or, gasp, real life interaction that I use.
Users can send photos and control how long the receiver views the photo (up to 10 seconds) on the app. If you try to take a screenshot of the photo, the app notifies the sender. Snapchat has been associated with sexting since it launched, an image that isn’t helped by some of its risqué marketing materials. I personally doubt how often the app is used for illicit purposes—most users I know send goofy images to each other.
With over 20 million photos uploaded each day, it is growing, and if you asked around the youth group you will find a handful of teens have caught onto this.
What You Should Know
1. Know that this is the new ‘It’ app for teenagers. Sure Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter still have their place. But keep you eye out for this one.
2. Upon my first hearing of this app I was concerned that this is a super easy way to share sexting type photos. Call me the alarmist on that one. Just being honest. I am not alone in that thinking though (read that linked article if you want more detailed security issues).
However, in talking to some of the youth I interact with. I sensed that their use for SnapChat was is far from that. They generally just see it as the next cool thing.
However, it only takes once and a good time and fun application can become harmful. So it might be worth your while to keep aware of the use of the app and share, at appropriate times, that even if someone does a screen capture of a less than desirable image they still have that image. You just happen to know about it. Someone also could take a photo of their phone. People still have cameras that they use to take photos, right?
So check it out, you might be surprised who is already on SnapChat from the youth group.
If you want to promote a cool photo app for the youth group or a youth event. Check out PhotoCircle (for android). The photos don’t disappear, but you can share your photos with others into a ‘circle’. A bunch of us leader types used it for the latest youth workers convention and it was a lot of fun to see others experiences and funny photos.