Editorial comment: Snapchat’s staying power

In many ways, Snapchat doesn’t make any sense. Using the picture messaging app is hardly any different than sending a photo or video through a text message. But most importantly, you have no more than 10 seconds to view the photo before it disappears forever. Snapchat is popular because it is fun and more carefree than Facebook or Twitter.

Despite its apparent triviality, there is no denying that Snapchat has made its mark on youth culture. According to a Wall Street Journal blog, 350 million “snaps” are sent every day. It was also a major reason why the Oxford Dictionary named “selfie” its word of the year for 2013.

The app, designed by two Stanford dropouts and launched less than three years ago, has raised eyebrows for a few reasons. In November 2013, Facebook reportedly offered $3 billion to purchase the app. Shockingly, Snapchat rejected it.

Is Snapchat just another trendy app occupying us until the next big thing, with its predecessors including Temple Run, Angry Birds and Words with Friends? Or is it something more?

The last decade is bursting with huge successes of this kind, but also littered with failures.

Privacy is part of Snapchat’s appeal, but it could be its downfall. A few weeks ago, news surfaced that phone numbers of nearly five million Snapchat accounts were leaked due to a security flaw that the company has been accused of neglecting.

The thought of unintended recipients is enough to make many question what they send using Snapchat, or whether to use the service at all.

If employers can check us out on Facebook and make judgments about our profiles and posts there, imagine what they’d think about our snaps!

The editorial comment is composed by the editor-in-chief, opinion editor and two other editors each quarter. Opinions expressed represent the majority view of the group. News and assistant news editors are never involved in composition of the editorial comment.

This article was posted in the section Opinion.
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The Editorial Board comprises the editor-in-chief, opinion editor, and two other editors. The staff editorial, composed weekly, reflects the majority opinion of the group. News editors and the business manager are never involved with the staff editorial.