Snapchat and applications like it represent a coming sea change in social media, one not necessarily defined by shared or public interactions. These services present an antidote to mainstream services that are meant to capture life moments so they can be shared, liked and commented on. Snapchat’s appeal lies largely in the lack of permanence.
Think about this for a second: Anyone can create something that everyone can see. It sounds simple, but it’s actually a profound change in the way people communicate.
Every moment ever photographed was a Kodak moment. Until they f***ed it all up … The Kodak moment now marks the implosion of an amazing brand, the moment they missed how consumer behavior was shifting. It marks the hubris to resist the forces that made it successful. Worst of all, it commemorates the rift between a brand’s vision and the people who make a brand what it is.
There is, however, a remarkable double standard about what types of photographs are acceptable. Part of the problem with selfies may be that they haven’t really been contextualized (yet). We don’t know how to think about selfies using our current mental models. We know what to do with pictures of babies, people holding trophies, or even those teens holding soccer balls smiling so proudly on the mantel. We know about mug shots in corporate brochures, portraits in school yearbooks and even profiles on social networking sites. With selfies, we don’t have anything to really connect it to.
Images sent between cellphones are on the rise as text messages continue to fall, according to CTIA, the trade association for the wireless industry. An industry report released this year said 2.19 trillion text messages were sent and received in 2012, about 5 percent less than a year earlier. In comparison, MMS, or multimedia messages that include photos and videos, grew by 41 percent to 74.5 billion in 2012.