Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel is a billionaire (at least on paper), and the teens are infatuated with his company. But a lot of older folks, or if you prefer, millennials, or if you prefer, snake people, still don't get it. Why are the kids always taking so many pictures with these new fangled camera phones? To explain, Spiegel sat down and recorded a rather somber and philosophical lecture, with visual aids, that lays out exactly why Snapchat is the now.
In the past photos were difficult, expensive, and time consuming to produce. So we used them to preserve only our most important memories. Nowadays you can literally stream video of your life 24/7 using only a smartphone, so kids exchange pictures the way old folks used to "talk" IRL. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then our children are incredibly wealthy, or verbose.
Stop collecting, never stop communicating
This is part of the larger evolution of social media, Spiegel explains. Social media began on this antiquated machine called a "desktop computer" and was about accumulation: friends, likes, photos, testimonials, followers. Slowly we came to realize that while this behavior was satisfying, perhaps addictive, it also saddled us with mountains of digital baggage, evidence that could be used against us one day.
That's why the youth has embraced Snapchat, Spiegel argues, where users can communicate in real time, record a short 24-hour cycle of their life, but rest easy knowing it will all quickly slough off into the void. Why did he record a 240p video where the images and text holds up are barely visible? Because pictures are the new talking and the lower the quality, the greater the intimacy.
We took our own stab at explaining the phenomenon that is Snapchat. You can listen to that conversation below.
And now for the final word on this subject.