Opinion: The new social media: Snapchat brings creative content beyond Friday’s party

Carley Hull is a senior news major. Contact her at [email protected]

Carley Hull

You might have noticed while you were going through your friends’ Snap stories of hooliganism and first world problems that a new feature has been added. It is called Discover, and it has the potential to change social media as we know it.

The new feature keeps the idea of storytelling by acting as a haven for media outlets and television networks to tell their stories. These stories include everything from easy-to-read short stories from Cosmopolitan to recipes and cooking demos from the Food Network. It’s also free entertainment and news on the go from media outlets like National Geographic, ESPN, Yahoo! News and CNN.

This isn’t changing social media because it’s new and full of multimedia content, it’s because Snapchat is trying to identify this feature as a creative approach. Snapchat doesn’t even want to call Discover social media. In the company’s introduction to Discover they said, “this is not social media.  Discover isn’t about what’s most popular.  We count on editors and artists, not clicks and shares, to determine what’s important.” 

What Snapchat is smart about though is the limited time feature of daily content that refreshes each day. Even if their goal is not to share and get hits, they basically are forcing the viewer to absorb all the content the day it appears. This shortened news cycle is changing social media by eliminating that 24/7 approach that outlets like Twitter and Facebook rely on.  No need to check back every hour for new content because it will be the same.

In the coming months we will see how people adapt and accept this new approach to social media, but I think this change will start becoming the newest approach to convergence between social media and media outlets. For the journalists out there, we should have seen this coming. I can think of at least three instances where I said in interviews that I thought Snapchat would be the next big social media tool for media outlets, but Snapchat has done far beyond what I ever anticipated.

The publications that are involved in Discover will hopefully see more benefits, and I look forward to the coming transition of how social media connects us to the media.