What started out as a simple idea from two Stanford students quickly transformed into one of the most popular forms of social networking in our world today. Snapchat is a quick photo messaging application used on smart phones across the globe. According to Wikipedia, “Using the app, users can take photos, record videos, add text and drawings, and send them to a controlled list of recipients. These sent photographs and videos are known as ‘Snaps’.” This emerging form of new technology aims its product to users between the ages of 13 and 23.
The most popular use of Snapchat is to send “selfies” and can be sent to more than one recipient. Although, “selfies” and picture messaging are most common among youth, older generations are starting to grasp the concept as well. However, many adults lack the knowledge of the maturity of the app, or in better terms lack of maturity. When the application first hit its growth spirt many users manipulated the photo messaging in exchange for sexting. One of the most differentiating qualities of Snapchat is how it has this temporal dimension of time. This quality gives you the ability to be able to set the images to automatically “disappear” after a set amount of time. Giving the power and ability to the younger generations to “sext” and send provocative photos without the thought of the other recipient having them forever because of the time setting the Snapchat allows.
When first stumbling across Snapchat, “one can experience Onian’s 4 stages of amazement.” (41) The first stage of amazement, “a striking experience” (41) is being drawn in by the visual appearance of the app. Onian’s second stage of amazement is “a consequent physical paralysis,” (41) is your body being at rest and your body being unable to control when you will receive a photo response. The third stage is “the mental reaction in which something is being learned.” (41) With this being said, when you open that new snap from your recipient and react to whatever that image holds and apply it to your situation and feelings. The last and final stage of amazement, “a new action,” (41) applies to Snapchat through continuous sending and receiving of visual messages that keeps the infinite cycle moving.
Defamiliarization is most commonly used for the artistic presenting to audiences common things, in an “unfamiliar or strange way that is a basic function of all devices.” (47)
Snapchat applies to this by putting a new twist on picture messaging through the unfamiliar methods they utilize the following include: adding a text, the time the picture is shown, your own color or design along with the most recent feature of adding emojis straight to the photo itself. These features make Snapchat the success it is. The immediate popularity growth stemmed from the new and unfamiliar idea of communicating through photos and now videos. Snapchat continues to impress audiences through new advances and features.
Snapchat acts as an “uncanny nature of emerging technology”(46) by continuing the new era of social media and messaging. The emerging use of such serves as a new worldly experience for mankind. Snapchat is a technological response to the era we live in. The children of today are growing up far differently than those 30,40, or however many years ago did. Snapchat is a growing contribution to the new media of the 21st century.
Wikipedia.(September 2011).Snap Chat. Retrieved from