Tag Archives: Snapchat

Snapchat Stories

From the Snapchat blog: “Snapchat Stories add Snaps together to create a narrative. When you add a Snap to your Story it lives for 24 hours before it disappears, making room for the new. Your Story always plays forward, because it makes sense to share moments in the order you experience them.”

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Snapchat And An Alternative to The Profile

Nathan Jurgenson, a sociologist and one of the most compelling thinkers on social media is also a researcher for Snapchat. In his latest post on the company’s blog, Jurgenson sketches out what Snapchat might become: an alternative to the identity straight jacket of the Facebook profile and permanent social media. As far as Facebook and Google are concerned, profiles are supposed to represent our “true selves,” the totality of our personality. The two force us to use our real names and everything we do and say on their networks is attributed to our identities as if we each have only one persona. It’s no surprise that this view of permanent identity is incredibly self-serving for Facebook and Google’s business. Since most of their revenue comes from advertising, it makes sense that the two would want all the info we type into their networks to be consistent with a Profile. Profiles are the way advertisers view humans. Single, female, in her 20s, likes denim and science fiction ebooks, travels often to South America. But we know from being alive, and from knowing other people intimately, that a person’s identity could never fully fit into rigid categories. As Jurgenson reminds us, our lives are full of revision, playfulness, ambiguity, contradiction, strangeness and discovery. Profiles and permanent social media stifle the ability to create ourselves. What if, instead, things could be different, perhaps temporary?

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Memoto, The Lifelogging Camera

Memoto SXSW

Jenna Wortham/ The New York Times

Reporting from SXSW in Austin, Jenna Wortham sketches the new product from Memoto, a tiny, wearable camera that captures moments every 30 seconds.

Memoto’s camera hints at some of the issues that will emerge about privacy, ownership of data and social etiquette as automatic lifelogging devices like theirs, or Google Glass, become more prevalent in the wild. There are also larger questions about how secure the sensitive information captured on these devices will turn out to be, or what happens should these companies go out of business, potentially taking reservoirs of personal information captured over the years with them.

 

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Facebook And Documentary Vision: Viewing The World As An Always Potential Past…Or As A Snapchat

“The tension between experience for its own sake and experience we pursue just to put on Facebook is reaching its breaking point. That breaking point is called Snapchat.” This begins a sophisticated and accessible essay in The New Inquiry by the sociologist Nathan Jurgenson. Fascinated by photographs and the act of consuming images, Jurgenson discusses how the culture of photography has changed under the ever-presence of social media.

For those who live with status updates, check-ins, likes, retweets, and ubiquitous photography, such an understanding is near inescapable. Social media have invited users to adopt a sort of documentary vision, through which the present is always apprehended as a potential past. This is most triumphantly exemplified by Instagram’s faux-vintage filters.

As documentarians and photographers train their eyes to see the profound in the mundane, or to capture movement and emotion in a still image, professional habits become inescapable ticks. Documentary vision is to gaze at the world always with a picture frame in mind, as if every face, tree, shadow or dinner plate is a potential photograph. If you follow Jurgenson’s description, social media has now burdened us all with documentary vision. The real world is just material for Facebook.

Riffing off his earlier piece on Instragram and the faux-vintage photo (No, just because that filter makes me and my friends look like we are from the 1940s doesn’t make the frame important or worthy of memory), Jurgenson argues that the abundance of our Facebook galleries have lessened the value of the photograph. All the rehearsed posing and desperate retouching coupled with the limitless capacity of smartphone snapping and storing makes our digital museums less memorable, not more. In a culture where everything is seen as a potential, sharable post, smiling for the camera can be exhausting. (Pretend like you are having fun! Cheeeeeeese!)

This is why Snapchat, the app that lets you send temporary photographs, represents a refreshing change up.

Temporary photography is in part a response to social-media users’ feeling saddled with the distraction of documentary vision. It rejects the burden of creating durable proof that you are here and you did that. And because temporary photographs are not made to be collected or archived, they are elusive…By leaving the present where you found it, temporary photographs feel more like life and less like its collection.

Jurgenson goes on to say that temporary photography like Snapchat can actually help bolster the position of traditional photography. Amid the barf-stream of endless “Mimosa Brunch!!!” pics and “Were you in a frat?” bro photos, Snapchat is private and thus a more meaningful affair. It’s deliberately about nowness, not “Can’t wait to post this.” Snapchat’s fleeting impermanence reminds us why we take pictures in the first place.

“The ephemerality sharpens viewers’ focus: Once received, a Snapchat count-down is a kind of time-bomb that demands an urgency of vision, a challenge to exhaust the meaning from the image before the clock runs out. Unlike a paper photo that fades slowly over the years, the temporary photo disappears suddenly. Given only a peek, you look hard.”

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Advertisements