The selfie, an inspiring movement, that is almost direct spawn of Snapchat. Snapchat is a phone app created by two Stanford students as a project that has taken off in the 13 to 23 year old demographic. As a 20 year old who’s used the app for about two years now I can attest for this. It’s hard-pressed that you come across anybody nowadays in my age group that does not have a Snapchat. It’s practically as essential as Facebook at this point for my age group. The app also allows you to send “Snaps” which are a picture you can only see once that lasts up to 10 seconds. This is defamiliarization at its finest. Never before have you been able to just view a picture or video sent from somebody without actually having to download it or have you been able to only see it for a limited amount of time. This is what makes Snapchat so wonderfully unique and why it gained popularity.
Onian’s four stages of amazement all apply to Snapchat. It is a striking experience in the sense that it’s a clean looking app and it’s unusual in the sense that you can only see the picture for so long. The consequent physical paralysis happens when your heart skips a beat as you put your finger on the screen to load a snap you’ve received. The mental reaction in which you learn something occurs every time you need to react to a new snap depending upon the situation at hand. A new action happens the first time you use Snapchat and learn it opening up a way of communication unlike before.
I would argue that Snapchat is actually an extension of cameras. The only difference is that Snapchat makes the demand for the picture high because you can only see the picture for so long before it goes away forever. They also give you the option to add filters and captions to your picture. By limiting the time you can see a picture and giving you customization options they’ve created a new form of communication that at its core is still just photography. Who would have thought photos were going to lead to revolutionary communication.
- “Snapchat.” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 1 Feb. 2014. Web. 2 Feb. 2014. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snapchat>
- Gunning, Tom. “Re-Newing Old Technologies: Astonishment, Second Nature, and the Uncanny in Technology from the Previous Turn-of-the-Century.” Trans. ArrayPrint. <https://myasucourses.asu.edu/webapps/portal/frameset.jsp?tab_tab_group_id=_2_1&url=/webapps/blackboard/execute/launcher?type=Course&id=_277789_1>.