Hypnotic Effects Of Snapchat Stories

Snapchat is the subject of more tech chatter (again!) because of the popularity of “Stories” and this video describing all the facets of what makes the product for young people today. You must watch this video. I started thinking more about Snapchat today, and I showed my wife a few of the “Stories” from today — the Stanford vs Notre Dame game (she works at the University) and the Hot Air Balloon contest. She’s heard of Snapchat, but doesn’t know what it is — she watched the stories and figured out she needed to keep her finger on the screen. She loved them. Stories are, no doubt, more dynamic, real-time, and engaging/real than what we’ve been trained to see when we visit Facebook. So, all of this got me thinking again:

Snapchat Posts Drive Web Traffic: I’ve written a few times about Snapchat on this blog. While my site doesn’t generate or receive huge traffic numbers, people come to read about Snapchat all the time. It’s a curious phenomenon, and people are curious enough to Google it and learn more about it. It also cuts against many popular notions — its users don’t interact with the web when using the product, it is about impermanence while Facebook is a long-term record, etc. Here are some of the old posts that seemed to strike a chord with readers: If Snapchat Is The Next Big Thing (Feb 2013); Musing About Potential Snapchat Business Models (June 2013); Ephemerality Aside, Snapchat Sends Its First Permanent Message (Nov 2013) How Snapchat Became The Breakout Consumer Product Of 2013 (Dec 2013).

Snapchat V1 May Have Been A Fluke, But “Stories” Prove Product Genius: My wife asked me today, “What are “Stories?” I showed her on and then tweeted this line: “Snapchat Stories = mobile-native, user-generated, crowdsourced video clips curated for a current event = the most engaging real-time media.” Think about this. Snapchat has the mobile broadcast DNA of Twitter + Instagram, the photosharing & messaging of Facebook & Whatsapp, and the original, user-generated videos of Vine and YouTube. Wow. Power play. Who knows what motivated the founders to create the initial engagement hook of their first version. Maybe genius, maybe a fluke. Stories prove they’re product geniuses. The content in Stories is just right.

The Search For “The Instagram Of Video.” Remember Viddy? A few investors certainly do. At that time, people assumed Instagram’s success would open the door for a video counterpart, so we saw SocialCam, Vine, and Instagram included video. Earlier today, I tweeted: “Turns out “The Instagram for Video” wasn’t SocialCam or Viddy or Vine or even Instagram. It was Snapchat.” A clunky line, but you get the idea. Of course, all of this could be moot if the company won’t make the turn from product sensation into business. Admittedly, I thought at the start of 2014 that Snapchat would be acquired this year because the market was hot, they could get Whatsapp-style bids with stocks surging, and because going through the revenue game could present a risk. So, I came out and wrote “Prediction: Snapchat Will Be Acquired In 2014.” Looks like that post will be wrong ;-)

Haystack is written by Semil Shah, and is published under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA license. Copyright © 2018 Semil Shah.

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