Yes, I’m writing about Snapchat. No, that doesn’t make me a 14-year old girl.
What started out as a place notorious for sharing secret things (read: naked photos) that rarely stayed secret, Snapchat has stuck to its roots but evolved its features to become a leading social platform.
Even though pictures and videos (called “snaps”) disappear after 24 hours. Even though you still can’t upload pics or videos taken with other apps.
And yes, even though vertical video looks like crap on the television.
So what? Money and attention are shifting back to this platform as it approaches its 5th birthday.
It’s true that most users of Snapchat — both producers and consumers — remain sub-25.
But that doesn’t mean people outside that demographic should avoid the platform. I’m close to double the average user’s age, and I’m having a blast with Snapchat — watching and creating.
If you’re game for giving the app a (or perhaps a second) chance, I’ve some “friend” recommendations for you. These people are doing a great job telling stories within the limitations of the medium. And they only occasionally use the silly face filters.
(Note: This is not meant to be an exhaustive list. There are many others I follow that I did not list. By all means, add your favorites in the comments. They’ll make good buffers for the angrier comments this post is sure to generate!)
Keeping it local
There are quite a few Snappers from our own backyard.
It’s no surprise that Mark (USA) from Migrationology is here, as Snapchat is the perfect platform for him to showcase his eating adventures based right here in the Big Mango. Fair warning: Don’t watch on an empty stomach. He’s always on point and keeps his snaps and stories educational and interesting.
He’s one of many that keep their focus on Thailand. Add Shayan (Pakistan) for stories in and around Bangkok, or Chris and Angela (USA) who share their stories from Chiang Mai. Gianni & Ivana (Italy & Slovakia) spend a lot of time in The Kingdom, as does Will (UK).
Other than the “hey, my kid did something cute in the kitchen I have to share with the world” sect, one of the largest groups on Snapchat is travelers.
That makes sense, as Snapchat’s an easy way to capture, share, and brag about being in places your friends aren’t.
While some of the travel snappers do come off like narcissistic trust fundies, a great number are doing a much better job.
I put Brock (Canada) near the top of the list. He manages to pull the best story out of every destination he visits, and always makes the listeners feel like part of his journey — rather than be jealous of it.
Other great ways to see the world through someone else’s eyes include Edna (USA), Dave (UK), and Hannah (USA)… and a few thousand others.
Seriously. You can’t swing a dead cat without hitting a Snap traveler.
We Love The Booze
People getting drunk and recording themselves doing stupid stuff on social media is nothing new.
But for those who skew less beer pong and more excellent cocktail, give Chris (UK) a follow. He’s an accomplished bartender who creates some interesting concoctions a few times a week, showing you exactly how he does it and providing the recipe after. And he does it in an entertaining and often quite funny way.
Need more? No worries. Tess (Norway) has lots of bar knowledge to share. For fun, watch the alcohol-inspired (fueled?) antics of and sketches from Moritz & Pedro (Germany & Brazil).
The Art Of Restriction
You might not think there’s much room for artistic freedom with an app that records no more than 10 seconds of video at a time, won’t let you upload images already on your phone, and doesn’t offer any design layouts.
But you would be wrong.
One photographer, John (USA), does an exceptional job of creating “mini-movies”, stretching the boundaries of what Snapchat can do while staying within the limitations of the medium. His films are beautiful and thought provoking. OK, OK… It helps that he’s a contributing photographer for National Geographic magazine.
If drawing is more your style, take a look at the monster-rific snaps created by Georgio (Lebanon).
Snapchat is full of super-smart people sharing what they know with the world.
One such rock star of the brain is Liza (USA), who shares science and cool info headlines almost every day. But rather than just read the headlines, she punctuates each with outstanding macro photography and excellent music. I know that sounds a little odd, but it works very well.
Or if you want social/communication/doing good info sprinkled with silliness from someone with a little mileage on them, check out Joel (USA).
On Snapchat, I share the lighter side of living as an expat in Bangkok, but only aspire to the greatness of the true masters of Snapchat comedy.
It’s not easy to keep bits going when you only have 10 seconds or less, but funnyman Nick (UK) has a knack for it. Even if you hate bad/Dad jokes (I happen to love them) and slapstick comedy (ditto), you’ll appreciate how he’s using the medium.
Or not. Funny is in the eye of the beholder.
Follow Tanner (Canada) if you’re looking for more travel mixed with your funny. He’s in Vietnam as of this writing.
Still Think Snapchat Is Stupid?
Well… maybe it is.
But something is happening, because Business Insider reports Snapchat is now the second most used mobile social platform.
That’s right: Snapchat is more popular than Twitter or Instagram. Some of us are pulling down a little coin (or a lot) from our efforts. Other just like to share silly snaps with their friends.
But best of all, we’re having fun. Care to join us, 10 seconds (or less) at a time?
Featured photoshopped image via Manoonp and Ryan Nagelmann (Creative Commons)