Our most basic need right after survival and concurrently a key quality of the human condition is the need to connect and communicate. I’m an avid Snapchat user for almost a year now and sold thenceforth on its ephemeral premise. A friend from the States dragged me into it long before it went huge in Europe as well1 — a great idea in retrospect, since it eliminated a lot of communication friction, both formal and informal. It connects.
I’m also a Casey Neistat fan. And today Casey posted this:
I followed suit and within seconds I was watching random segments from Casey’s Cannes trip for the Lions. This experience was new; unique; social (despite being “one way;”) direct; creative; raw.
Since Neistat doesn’t have me in his contacts (read: “follow”) it reminded me of Twitter; everybody can follow you but you choose whom you’ll follow. Only this time it isn’t about fragments of one’s life set apart by brevity and 140 characters (sometimes) rather than visuals — photos and video.
A new way to connect with people by living the latest highlights of their lives as if you were there; not reading about them or have them stored in your messages feed forever. You don’t need this anymore. “This is me, this is what I do now, pay attention by not paying attention and connect with me.”
My argument regarding Snapchat’s future, though, is not related with the consumer facet of this feature. It’s about Snapchat’s business. Bubble or not there’s a rich background to Snapchat both in and of itself as a new medium and as a startup.
This novel new way of sharing and most importantly connecting whether it’s friends with friends or fans with artists — provided being executed well — can drive extraordinary growth for the service with much higher engagement ROIs and better KPIs overall. The Stories feature did exist for some months but only now does Snapchat start to capitalize it. Its upgrade, “Our Story,” is an even better opportunity for big brands, artists, celebrities, et al. $3 billion isn’t crazy anymore.
In the meantime, Kanye West shared some relevant thoughts about branding, design, and communication at the Lions. “People ask, where’s our future? Where’s our flying cars? That is the world that’s floating above us right now.” That’s the Internet and that’s what it’s all about: connecting us.
Update: Hate to say it but: I told you so.
Update 2: Told you so.
Ephemeral hipster. ↩
posted: June 18, 2014