The Secret Behind Snapchat’s Popularity

I was chatting the other day about why Snapchat is so popular.  Most people think it’s because of sexting and the fact that the photos disappear, but i think it’s more than that.  I recently came across a speech by the Snapchat founder (Evan Spiegel) and thought it was pretty enlightening as to how he sees usage occur.

He talks about how people today don’t want to fully recreate their offline experience online. They want to be online but understand that their online profile isn’t the sum of them.  It’s a pretty different view.  A highlight of the speech:

Traditional social media required that we live experiences in the offline world, record those experiences, and then post them online to recreate the experience and talk about it. For example, I go on vacation, take a bunch of pictures, come back home, pick the good ones, post them online, and talk about them with my friends.

This traditional social media view of identity is actually quite radical: you are the sum of your published experience. Otherwise known as: pics or it didn’t happen.

Or in the case of Instagram: beautiful pics or it didn’t happen AND you’re not cool.

This notion of a profile made a lot of sense in the binary experience of online and offline. It was designed to recreate who I am online so that people could interact with me even if I wasn’t logged on at that particular moment.

Snapchat relies on Internet Everywhere to provide a totally different experience. Snapchat says that we are not the sum of everything we have said or done or experienced or published – we are the result. We are who we are today, right now.

He then also talks about how when you take the photo away, it’s more about the feeling and not the photo.  It’s subtle but powerful difference.  He says: 

Snapchat discards content to focus on the feeling that content brings to you, not the way that content looks. This is a conservative idea, the natural response to radical transparency that restores integrity and context to conversation.

Snapchat sets expectations around conversation that mirror the expectations we have when we’re talking in-person.

That’s what Snapchat is all about. Talking through content not around it. With friends, not strangers. Identity tied to now, today. Room for growth, emotional risk, expression, mistakes, room for YOU.

I like that concept.  And with that it’s clear why people, especially teenagers, would want a more forgiving medium. 

Note: blogged about Snapchat almost a year ago and the massive growth they are having: http://loo.me/2013/06/lets-talk-about-snapchat/

Earn Points with Grandma: The Postgram App

I was visiting my grandmother last weekend.  This is the same grandmother that was spotted on the streets of Manhattan at age 90 and asked to be a model for GNC (blog post: My Grandmother is Amazing).  She was remarking about how she loves to see photos of the great-grandkids.  I have one cousin who sends her an email of a picture every day.  I left feeling like i was really laking in my picture sending.  

Then, enter the Postgram App.  With this app, i can grab any picture on my phone or in Instagram and send it as a postcard.  You enter in a message and an address and it gets sent automatically.  Viola. 

Now, my grandma is getting mail all the time of pictures.  Yes!

 

Yahoo! is on it’s way back

I had pretty much written Yahoo off.  I thought they were dead.  They hadn’t done anything new and interesting for over 5 years.  Their webpages looked like crap.  They were just treading water.  That all changed lately.  Specifically in the past 6 months, they’ve done some things that really make me think they’ll be a player in the future.

First, let’s talk about Flickr.  I’ve always used it as my default photo service where i store all my photos online.  It used to be the best (in 2003-2006) and then it got abandoned.  I still kept putting my photos there because i was locked in, but i knew it was dead.  They added one small feature a year. I had seen that playbook at AOL.  It means it’s only a matter of time before it’s time to leave.  Then something magical happened.  They pushed out a new iPhone app for it that was actually decent.  Then they updated it to make it really slick.  Then they announced 1 terabyte of free storage.  Then they announced automatic iPhone uploads of photos.  Whoa.  All of the sudden, it was one of the best photo apps on my phone.  All in about a 6 month period.

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Second, they released a new News Digest app that is basically The Week magazine but a daily app.  It aggregates 8 to 10 recent news stories and sends them to you twice a day.  Once you’ve read the morning stories, you have to wait for the evening delivery. It’s beautifully made and is really easy to consume.  It’s not the main way I get mainstream news.

Finally, they launched a new Tech site that claims to be different than current tech sites.  The premise being that all tech sites today are focused on the top tier tech enthusiasts and people who care a lot about Silicon Valley.  Yahoo Tech will be focused on the other 90%. People who want to know what the best TV is, not which Palo Alto exec just changed jobs.  I think that’s a great idea.

So, it’s good to have another player back out there.  Someone is building new things and innovating.  I’m excited.  It seems that Yahoo! is indeed earning the exclamation point on their name.

 

The Cover of NYTimes is an Instagram Photo

As if journalists weren’t having a tough time.  Today’s cover of the New York Times is further proof that the cost-structure of journalism is crumbling.  The cover is an image of Alex Rodriquez and the photo was done from an iPhone and the Instagram app. 

Back in the day, you used to have to develop your own photos.  Then came digital photography and with that you needed to have some photoshop skills to make the photo look really professional. Now Instagram handles it all, and it looks great.  Obviously, an iPhone can’t handle a lot of circumstances, but now lots of people have the skills needed to make beautiful shots that are worthy of the cover of a newspaper. 

Capturing a Photo Every 30 Seconds

I hang out with some pretty cool people at work.  And, i’ve got some great people to go home to too. I capture a lot of moments on Instagram (which i love) and have lately been trying out Snapjoy (Boulder company) and Picturelife as possible places to replace my Flickr as my online photo storage.  

Recently though, I’ve come to the realization that it’s not enough. I want to capture more photos and more of my life. Lots of cool stuff is happening every day, both at work and at home that are just passing by.  I want to capture those too. So, you can imagine my happiness when i discovered a little gadget called Memoto.  What is it? It’s a little square that’ll snap a photo of wherever you are and whatever you’re doing every 30 seconds.  This is a 5 MP camera in a tiny little device.  That’s 4 GB of photos i’ll be capturing every day.  Now we’re talking.   Here’s a little video of the device:

I backed the project on Kickstarter so i don’t actually have the device but i ail soon and then you’ll all be jealous. 

One other things i’ve been using lately: Strava.  This used to be an app that tracks the crap out of your bike rides.  But, they’ve now added running tracking in there.  Before i stumbled upon Strava, I tested out RunKepper and MapMyRun and liked Runkeeper the best of those two, but after using Strava just a few times, i can tell that it’s better than both of them. 

 

Love the new animated GIF movement

If you haven’t noticed, there’s a new movement on the web to animate GIF, but to only animate them a little bit and to do it in a way to make them appear 3D.  I’m really loving it.  Take a look at the Steve Z image below and tell me you don’t like it.  I dare you. 

 


Cute Denver Mailboxes and Behavior

Over the past two years, I’ve found that Colorado and Denver in particular to be filled with really nice folks.  The interactions here remind me of my childhood in Minnesota where you get a heavy dose of “Minnesota Nice” in each conversation.  While people here aren’t quite that nice, they are still extraordinarily friendly.

My first month here, i got pulled over by a Denver cop for rolling through a stop sign.  He asked me why i did it and i replied that i was lost and looking at my iPhone map.  Instead of looking at me like a moron (which i am) and writing out a ticket, he instead asked me for the address of where i was going, jumped into his car, pulled up along side me and said, “follow me, i know where it is.”  Yep, that really happened.

Today i saw these photos below of mailboxes in and around Denver. I thought they were pretty cute and a good example of the vibe you can get from this city.   Enjoy:

Continue reading “Cute Denver Mailboxes and Behavior”

Biggest Rattlesnake Ever

Whoa, i just got sent this.  Apparently in south Jacksonville, near the St. Augustine outlet in the new KB Homes subdivsion they found a 15 foot Diamondback rattlesnake.  That’s right, 15 foot!  Apparently it’s the biggest every caught on record.

Some facts about this snake:

  • One bite from a snake this large contains enough venom to kill over 40 full grown men
  • The head alone is larger than the hand of a normal sized man.
  • A bite from those fangs would equal being penetrated by two  1/4 inch screwdrivers.
  • A snake this size could easily swallow a 2 year-old child.
  • A snake this size has an approximately 5 and 1/2 foot accurate striking distance. (The distance for an average size Rattlesnake is about 2 feet)
  • Judging by the size of the snake, it is estimated to weigh over 170 pounds. How much do you weigh?