First off - why is Snapchat is great — and Facebook should be restricted like alcohol?
My mum was a youth worker for many years, and retired in the early days of the Internet, around the end of 2002. She worked in a 6th form college, with 16–18 year olds.
Now mum, she is internet savvy. At the end of her working career, she was horrified by the kind of things her students were putting on the Internet. She used to lecture them about how this would follow them around forever and they should be careful.
Think about that. 2002. Pre-Facebook. We’re talking MSN chat. Email. AOL. DIAL UP.
Now, I’m a grown up. I understand that Facebook has an enormous amount of data on me. Pictures of me drunk and dancing on tables/ships/the graves of my enemies. Well, I own that. I don’t mind. If I were considering a political career, I might be a bit concerned about having to pretend to have never been a human being. Actually, no I wouldn’t. We could probably do with a few real people in charge*.
(*let me know if you’d like to fund me for Prime Minister).
The concern about Facebook for teens is something else. They are learning. They are risk-taking (and the bit of the brain that takes risks doesn’t develop at the same pace as the bit of the brain which calculates risk, which explains a lot).
Facebook is an archive of peoples lives, and privacy is a huge concern. Like alcohol, Facebook should be restricted for teens.
The perfect vehicle for teens to play safely with the booze of the internet: Snapchat.
Snapchat is low-octane privacy booze.
Teenagers live in the NOW. They don’t care about documenting their terrible haircuts, or Justin Bieber obsession. They live in a constant now. Much like I used to.
When I was a teenager, developing films was expensive. Just 7 rolls of film document my life from 14–25. At least two of those are documenting a one day trip to Cairo. Another a horrible trip to Berlin at 19 with people who have thankfully disappeared from my life (Apart from you, hilariously camp Jason, whose surname I don’t remember). That’s less than 200 photos over ELEVEN years. (I bet you have more photos than that on your phone right now)
In the Time Before Facebook we lost people. Made friends. Made memories. Forgot memories. Had no reminders. Thankfully.
There is an element of saving in Snapchat — yes you can screenshot/save snaps out of context BUT the ability to be rough, ready, real and authentic is of massive value to teenagers and anyone else in the state of learning.
It takes us back to a time where we can test, learn and adapt without committing ourselves — like marketers committing to a video which sits on your website, or youtube, forever indexed against your brand. For me, it means I can try things and see if they work. Both for me, and anyone watching my story on Snapchat.
The fact that snaps and snap-videos disappear from my Snapchat story within 24 hours is of huge benefit to people like me, testing their way in a medium they are unfamiliar with, particularly video. I like the fact that it encourages you to “ship” every day, as marketing guru Seth Godin would put it. You have to make an effort every day. It’s a lot closer to how we used to live our lives. We used to talk and then those words were gone — retained only in people’s memories and imaginations.
As teens age, they might want to document more of their life. Maybe they’ll stay with the platform they grew up with. Perhaps they’ll migrate onto Facebook. Unlikely, though. Maybe, just maybe, we're going back to a time where not everything is captured forever, and that is good.
Who am I kidding? Those teens might be rough and ready on Snapchat, but they are documenting the glammed-up hell out of everything that moves on Instagram.
Different tools, different rules.
Snapchat is a learning environment
A bike with stabilisers.
Swimming with armbands.
A supervised party.
It’s a safer place for teenagers to play then the catalogued life of Facebook.
Snapchat is also a marvelous playground for businesses to experiment, and learn, in a environment where they too are not held to the high glossy standards of corporate video. Not to mention, Karen in the legal department panicked by permanence.
Are you in business for the long haul?
No lifelong friendship has a catalogued ledger of things said and done, only a memory of the extreme.
Of the good
Of the bad
Of the laughter
Of the tears
Of that time your shoes smelled so bad we had to put them in quarantine on the porch.
Snapchat raises the bar for businesses.
No more staid corporate video. You’ll be gaining loyalty that you only get from providing value, regular
thentic than your competition.
One tip though — if you’re creating your username try to come up with something more original than Hannahflewis2.
Like I said. I’m learning. Are you?