Homepage of Snapchat's new Discover feature

Snapchat = news source?

In between classes on Tuesday, I saw tweets about the new update for Snapchat that was really throwing everyone for a loop.  Snapchat had made a change, and I was eager to know what it was.

During class, I was told that the change was Snapchat’s decision to add a Discover feature to the picture-sending platform that news sources could post tidbits of news for all viewers to see.  News sources ranging from CNN and Yahoo! News to Cosmo and ESPN are included with content created by each platform ranging from news stories to promoting shows on its network. Below is how Snapchat introduced the feature to its users.

Now this isn’t the first time Snapchat has upped the ante in an effort to stay relevant in the minds of its 25 and under user base: the introduction of the ‘Story’ feature, in which a user may add pictures that all of his or her friends may see for 24 hours, as many times as they would like.  This eliminates the need to click the names of every one of your friends if you take a particularly hilarious snap that you want to show everyone.

Soon after, stories from across the globe were introduced featuring content created by other Snapchat users called “Our Story” centered around a particular event or location.  The World Cup was one of these features, including the celebration following the conclusion of the game.  This became very common during the NCAA Football season, with rivalry games having an Our Story feature and it continued through playoffs with games having a feature, and finally in the championship game.

The Our Story feature is an expansion of the story feature every individual user has the control over, so it didn’t make that large of a splash. The Discover feature is creating something new, as nothing similar to anything found on this social media platform since its creation.

By incorporating news into an app that revolves around taking pictures that will disappear in under 10 seconds, it is making the app more mature.  Sure, selfies are fun and all, but when the user base grows out of the phase in which they’re comfortable taking pictures of themselves while making ugly faces, there won’t be a market for Snapchat.  The news is targeted at an older audience, so Snapchat can grow with its users.

I’m already at the age that I want to know what’s happening on in the world so I know that the younger users probably haven’t made this transition yet in their lives: Snapchat may be the first social media application that prominently features news content, so Snapchat has a real advantage in gaining their attention.

I’ll be sure to check the Discover feature in between selfies.

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