• Emerging Technology: The Rise of SnapChat

You’ve probably all noticed a sneaky little ghost popping up everywhere over the past few years, well that’s the face of the fasted growing social media application of 2014 – Snapchat. Like it or not you simply cannot escape from social media anymore and Snapchat is the latest offering that is being raved about worldwide. Unlike its competitors it’s intentions isn't to glamourize your lifestyle or look sexy or beautiful, but more so about communicating the real you without the stress of knowing it has a permanent shelf life. That’s what makes this application so unique, within a matter of 10 seconds or 24 hours (depending on what you chose) your content is deleted for good, making it more carefree and appealing to users.

       Snapchat founders Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy
Created by three Stanford University students back in April 2007 as an idea for a class project. The group decided to develop the idea further under the name ‘Picaboo’ and finally launched it in June 2011, although it was later re-branded and relaunched as Snapchat in September 2011. Ever since, the application has experienced rapid growth year on year. In November 2012 over one billion photos had been shared on the app equating to an incredible 20 million photos being shared every day. This figure soon increased by 400 million photos per day by November 2013, rising again to 700 million photos per day by May 2014.

So I know what you all must be thinking, how on earth did this technology grow so fast and what makes it so special? First of all today’s society and generation is becoming more visual and engaging hence Twitter’s recent decline in growth and Instagram’s strong incline. Users want to share engaging photos and videos with family and friends and with significant advances in mobile technology it allows us to do this more easily. Secondly, Snapchat’s main demographic is aged between 13 -23, young audiences generally tend to be easily influenced and always keen to get hands on with the latest emerging technologies. Thirdly, the app is heavily utilised by celebrities and key influencers worldwide aka free marketing for the app.

Chaira Ferragni announcing her Snapchat to the world
Celebrities and Influencers
The app is a favourite amongst numerous celebrities and social media influencers worldwide, which is definitely a key factor of the app’s rapid growth throughout the years. Celebrities such as Kylie Jenner (part of the giant Kardashian brand) is an avid user of Snapchat and has expressed her love of the app many times, constantly sharing controversial snaps with her millions of followers. Social media influencers have also heavily impacted the app’s growth with successful bloggers and youtubers such as Chiara Ferragni and Zoella regularly posting snaps, encouraging their followers to download the app and follow their journey.

One of the reasons why the app has been so well received by the blogging community is due to the ability to express their true personalities through mini vlogs and give their followers a true insight into their lives. The app is also a lot less time consuming in comparison to other social platforms such as YouTube or Instagram.

Kylie Jenner posing with Tyga on Snapchat

Like every new craze, there has been slight negativity and controversy surrounding the new app. Due to the functionality (deleting content within a time-frame), it has been predominately associated with sharing sensitive content including sexual content, which was a huge concern as it has such a young fan base. However a recent study in 2014 discovered 60% of Snapchat users actually use the app for comedic purposes (pulling funny faces, telling jokes etc). It showed that users find the app fun and a great way to pass time.

So with new emerging technologies on the rise every day, contemporary advances and innovations in information technology means we’ll be seeing a lot more visual and engaging applications. Hats off to Snapchat for establishing their platform in such a saturated market. It looks like ghostface chillah (the mascot) is here to stay so if you haven’t jumped on the Snapchat bandwagon yet then we suggest you do!

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