By Rebecca Merden in The Conversation.
When Snapchat launched in 2011, ephemerality was its unique selling point. Its self-destructing photo and video messages were a stark departure from established social media platforms, which encouraged users to construct and populate content-laden profiles. Disappearing “Snaps” may have gained traction initially as a discrete way of sexting, but their transient nature turned out to have a broader appeal.
Users embraced Snapchat as a way to share the insignificant, silly, mundane, or simply less polished moments of everyday life. Moments not deemed Instagram-, Twitter- or Facebook-worthy, could be shared as ephemeral Snaps. As Snapchat co-founder, Evan Spiegel, put it:
Snapchat isn’t about capturing the traditional Kodak moment. It’s about communicating with the full range of human emotion – not just what appears to be pretty or perfect.
Things looked promising for Snapchat. In 2013, the company introduced Snapchat Stories, a montage of Snaps broadcast simultaneously to the user’s entire contact list for a 24-hour period. The following year saw the introduction of Snapchat advertising, enabling firms to broadcast to the app’s growing user base, and providing Snapchat with a growing revenue stream. So confident was Snapchat in its future success, that it declined Facebook’s acquisition offer of US$3 billion in 2013.
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