Snapchat: from social to informative


What is Snapchat? It all depends to whom you ask.

imageThe social media app is certainly one of the most buzzed and controversial out there.

For parents, the ephemeral and private nature of the content goes in hand with “sexting.” For  teens using it, it is just an alternative medium for sharing pictures they would otherwise be uncomfortable posting on other well-known social networks.

If you ask me, I’ll probably agree with both of the sides, but I would also argue it has some useful properties to it. Asides from letting you interact with other users, it is an invitation for you to be a part of news coverage of the stories you have the opportunity to experience.

As I woke up last Tuesday morning and I logged in on Snapchat, I couldn’t help but notice I had an unconventional live story showing. “Fashion Week in NYC.” I had no idea it was that time of the year again.

image-2I pressed my screen with immediate curiosity to get a hold of it and see what was all it all about. It was pretty obvious from the title (and so do I supposed) that shots of the different shows would be featured.

But then there were also the backstage moments; a deeper look onto the collections, the models, the celebrities that were attending and bits of the overall urban atmosphere the city was experiencing.

It was not much after I realized that the platform was actually reporting on the event. The giant collections of “Snaps” (pictures and videos) were certainly informing users about every single thing that was taking place through a unique perspective. That of an insider. In addition, the different angles of coverage on the same subject further helped for a broader understanding of the facts.


Heidi Klum being interviewed at Fashion Week.

The platform has being doing this for a while now. They did just the same thing for the Electric Daisy Carnival back in April and the FIFA World Cup Final in Brazil in July. The truth is, the “Our Story” addition in nothing more but a feature that allows for the most simplistic (and yet alternative) of the ways out there to do news coverage.

It basically compiles the best of the items submitted by users who attend a certain event and then makes them available to other “Snapchatters”, so they can feel like they are right in the middle of the action. And isn’t that what journalism is all about? Recreating the moment?

On an era were newsrooms are making use of social media for discovering and delivering news, it wouldn’t be surprising if they were making use of this app already. The truth is, this is a powerful platform. Aside from instant communication it also provides for pieces of evidence that can support the entire backbone of a story.

I have the feeling that not far from now, we might as well go and thank Snapchat, as we have Twitter and Instagram for reporting us on down-to-the minute newsbreaks. After all, isn’t social media aided lately in revealing and covering the most recent breaking news?

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About Domenica Leone

Domenica Leone is a sophomore at the University of Miami double majoring in broadcast journalism and media management with a minor in marketing. Leone, 19, graduated from Unidad Educativa Bilingue Delta in Guayaquil, Ecuador. She had the second highest grade point average in her class -19.71 in a 20 point scale- and was recognized as the best student in English. She was on the swimming team and competed in several interscholastic championships including one in Piura, Peru. She served in student government as treasurer and public relation officer. She was a writer and editor for the Estudiantes 2000, a newspaper for students throughout Guayaquil. As a senior she was the co-master of ceremonies of her school’s annual sport field day. She studied English in Boston and on Victoria Island in British Columbia and French in Paris. Before beginning at the University of Miami Leone earned 15 credits at a branch of Broward College, a Florida school, in Guayaquil. Leone studied dance from the time she was four years old. She is certified to teach tap dancing. For three years she has been training at a gymnastics school that models itself on Cirque du Soleil. During summer 2014, Leone interned on ''Expreso'' , an Ecuadorian newspaper of high repute.She was also invited on a couple of occasions to co host an entertainment radio show.