"The question is, when do I not use Snapchat?" "It's breakfast, it's lunch..."
Snapchat is notoriously hard to pin down. First it was for sexting, then it made the word "ephemeral" a Thing again, then it was probably for sexting again. Somewhere it became worth north of $10 billion, an app that could turn down $3 billion from Facebook and not look silly for doing so. But the question remains: what is Snapchat for? I've never really known.
Casey Neistat, a filmmaker and something of a Snapchat savant, has an answer. In his latest video, he makes the case for Snapchat being the future of social media, but in a fundamentally different way. It's not like Facebook or MySpace, his argument goes, though it may be their natural evolutionary successor. Snapchat is different, Neistat (and the gaggle of Snapchat fans he interviews) says, because it actually mirrors the way we interact in the real world.
Snapchat is different because it's about right now, and only right now
Snapchat is great because it's virile and vital. Because it's right now. Because there's no pressure to be produced or fake, because everything disappears in a few seconds anyway. It's a way to let people live your life with you, a surprisingly close approximation of just running into someone for a few seconds at the store or on the subway platform. Neistat points particularly to Stories, the public-facing part of Snapchat, as the feature that made Snapchat really work.
Of course, like any social media, Snapchat is also weird and insane. Neistat follows Jerome Jarre, "the King of Snapchat," who sends a single update and gets dozens of people to show up in Union Square for... something. They mostly just want to talk about Snapchat, and about how boring and passé Facebook is. Point is, these fans (mostly #teens) love Jarre, and feel like they know him, because they get to see small snippets of his life through Snapchat.
It's a fun, strange video, with a long metaphor about Breaking Bad that is kind of confusing, but it makes a shockingly compelling case for why anyone and everyone should be on Snapchat. The simple reason: because it's the closest thing anyone's ever built to an app that really approximates the boring, mundane, wonderful way we all actually live our lives.