In my attempt to find new friends on Snapchat (beyond the millennials I befriended at work) in the same age bracket as me, I’ve resorted to asking friends outright.
“Are you on Snapchat?”
“No!! Why? Are you?!”
“Isn’t Snapchat the one where people share dick pics?!”
It’s true that once upon time Snapchat was a social media platform used mainly by randy teenagers and young adults to swap naked pictures. However, the platform is growing up and now counts the President of the United States as one of its regular users. He’s mightily adept too, in case you’re wondering.
According to US data, the majority of Snapchat users are 18-24, followed by 25-34. My demographic (35-54) lags far behind – we make up a meagre 12% of Snapchat users.
Last year, I dabbled with the platform and, for the life of me, could not understand how it worked or why I should bother. Then six months ago, I asked a millennial co-worker to show me the basics. I committed to using it for 2 weeks, playing with pictures with overlays of filters, stickers and words. It reminded me of my days in magazine publishing – moving images and copy around the page to achieve maximum dynamic and synergistic effect.
I started having fun.
Over the Spring holiday break, Snapchat was my main medium. I captured lots of hamster footage when we were over at my sister-in-law’s. Pointless and funny hamster videos. This is the sort of thing that breaks the internet, right?
My Easter weekend was themed around the long weekend and a Snapchat list on how to have fun. Read a book, go for a walk, drink strong coffee. It was a good Snapchat story, if I say so myself. I’d show it to you if I could but I forgot to save them and they’ve long disappeared.
Saving Snaps in Stories mean it lives for 24 hours before disappearing. By building up the Snaps, I can weave them into a series and create a narrative out of it.
My friends remain baffled. Why create pictures and videos when they are doomed to disappear? But that is the beauty of it, that the stuff disappears! I don’t need to make the photos perfect. That rough and ready quality gives it a sense of immediacy and closeness between viewer and creator.
When I’m on social media, I generally try not to include pictures of my children. When they do pop up on my blog or Instagram, the photos are cropped or done in a way that you can’t see their faces. Snapchat is the one place where I do share pictures of them. I’m ok with sharing these behind-the-scenes to my working mum life on Snapchat simply because they evaporate into the digital ether.
Snapchat is so counter-intuitive and perplexing, so on the odd occasion I meet a 35-54 year old who’s equally enthusiastic about it as I am, I feel that that person could be a like-minded soul. As the saying goes, birds of the feather flock together.
Add me on Snapchat www.snapchat.com/add/karenhodkinson