Growing up I was always fascinated with technology and the different ways that it impacted my daily life. Though I do not have much of a perspective on what life as an adult is like without e-mails, cell phones and the internet as we know it today, from what I can tell I have always been on the benefiting end of the technology boom. I earned my first cell phone in 2003 at the age of 12, was an early adapter to Facebook at some point in 2005, and I have continued to pick up on emerging technology trends from next generation video games to the emerging social media outlets. Because I was so young when all of this new technology began to surface, it always begged the question for me of, “when will I not understand the technology around me?”. I look back on my parents interrogating me on why I wanted to add a text messaging plan to the cell phones; to them there was no reason to pay extra money for a seemingly useless service when a quick phone call would do all the same. It was incredibly frustrating for me having to wait until they fully understood something as innovative as the text message, and I vowed never to get to that point.
Once Facebook came onto the scene, it was as if another Pandora’s box was opened. Blending technology and the internet with a social platform was something new, powerful, and potentially dangerous. The change brought about skeptics from all angles, but even still I could not understand what all of the noise was about. It was clearly a cool thing that would allow me to waste even more time in my high school and college years. Then came Twitter, one of the more confusing things for me to grasp initially, but a platform that I have gotten more comfortable with throughout my 7 years using it. But I could tell that things were getting a little bit more difficult for me to fully understand, similar to my parents and text messaging.
With Twitter and Facebook in the mix they created opportunities to continue to expand into the social networking space. Services such as Instagram and Tumblr started to become popular, and it wasn’t long before you could comment on sites such as Yelp! and YouTube using your login from those types of platforms. The foundation was laid with those two in what I consider the emergence of social networks, but I feel as if the time where I begin to question the next emergence of these platforms is sneaking closer and closer, with emphasis on platforms like Snapchat. As a (somewhat) recent college undergraduate I still feel very connected to what is going on in the technology/social media space, but Snapchat was the first platform that really made me question if it was all passing me by.
The service started out as a simple picture sharing application, with messages (snaps) that would disappear after a set amount of time, no longer than ten seconds. I was confused at first, as were many of my friends, but we eventually caught on and began using it regularly. Then the updates started to come, and one of the most surprising things I have personally followed with social media, when the creators of Snapchat turned down a multi-billion dollar offer from Facebook. The questions were endless:
- Why would they ever turn down so much money for such a simple idea?
- Why would Facebook offer so much money for something so…simple?
- What plans could either side possibly have to turn this into a valuable business?
These questions and more bothered me for months, and now I am begining to see some of the answers manifest. We began to see Snapchat tap into a unique service by offering media outlets, news channels and the like have their own dedicated pages in the app. They introduced new “Live Moments” where you are able to submit your own snap videos to a collective story based around an event near your geographical location. And perhaps the newest and most intriguing avenue they have ventured down is their ability to offer celebrities a new place to earn a following. With the likes of Kylie Jenner and DJ Khaled commanding millions of followers based solely on their Snapchat stories, there is no telling where it goes from here. I personally see this as the emergence of the next cycle of social media trends, but only time will tell.