Snapchat may be the best place to find unusual photo filters and images that disappear like they never happened, but an upcoming IPO tells a bigger story.
With IPO valuation predictions of $30 billion from sources like the New York Times, the tech industry is taking notice. Although Snap, Inc. says it thinks of itself more as a camera company now that its Snap Spectacles are on the market, wider social media owes it a larger tip of the hat.
Snapchat Changed Social Media by Accident
When the network populated by under-20s initially started getting noticed, it was because of the unusual filters and fun, but useless, ways it allowed teenagers to communicate.
The company itself seemed to be focused on creating what it wanted to bring into the world instead of just another social media network pushing the same sort of content as all the rest in an effort to become profitable. Even its marketing was primarily television-based, instead of drawing from a data-rich online world. In short, it seemed to be doing everything wrong.
Yet, somehow, in all that wrongness, Snapchat provided the world with another way to do social. Instead of worrying about what stupid decisions in college would follow a user forever, Snapchat offered a way to forget that finals week party or first night in Vegas. Before Snapchat, social media never considered that users might want to forget, as well as remember. The personal nature of Snapchat was infectious, and human-curated features like Snapchat Live Stories gave a real look into major news stories from the perspective of the average user.
More Than a Footnote in History
Snapchat’s 150 million users are dwarfed by social giant Facebook’s 1.2 billion daily visitors, leaving it a network still vulnerable to extinction.
Its promising IPO doesn’t guarantee future success, but a widespread influence on social media may. The industry can thank it for popular features like Instagram’s newest disappearing photos and the idea that maybe everything a user did in Vegas can finally stay there, instead of living on the Internet forever.
When Snapchat’s IPO is finally announced, users can rejoice that the idea that there’s room in social media for impermanence has finally been validated. Live Stories may even eventually mature into an ideal news outlet, too.