Why did Snapchat succeed? The CEO spills the beans

Despite the multiple hitches that have come its way, self-destructing messaging app Snapchat has been the toast of tech circles for months. Now, the app’s CEO Evan Spiegel has revealed that the secret to the app’s success is Internet connectivity and ephemerality (The fact that it lasts a very short time).


Spiegel delivered the philosophically charged keynote address at the AXS Partner Summit, in which he talked about the app’s success story. Spiegel, seen to have a frat-boy personality, very reminiscent of Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg’s younger avatar, has managed to power the app to dish out over 400 million messages each day.


Spiegel explained that he found it strange when people referred to this period as the “post-PC” era. Spiegel explained that with smartphones, we’ve now entered a day and age of personal computing devices, more than ever before.


The Snapchat CEO explained that according to him, the 'Internet Everywhere' phenomenon has given users the power to live and communicate at the same time instead of first having to capture real world experiences, only to go back and recreate them online later.


“Internet Everywhere means that our old conception of the world separated into an online and an offline space is no longer relevant. Traditional social media required that we live experiences in the offline world, record those experiences, and then post them online to recreate the experience and talk about it,” Spiegel said.


In the same vein, Spiegel explained, the “selfie” becomes “arguably the most popular form of self expression”. “The selfie makes sense as the fundamental unit of communication on Snapchat because it marks the transition between digital media as self-expression and digital media as communication,” he said.


Here’s where ephemarility comes in. The focus for apps like Snapchat is on the feeling the content brings to the user, and not what it looks like. Communication is a lot more personal and resembles the real world. “That’s what Snapchat is all about. Talking through content not around it. With friends, not strangers. Identity tied to now, today. Room for growth, emotional risk, expression, mistakes, room for you,” Spiegel said.


Read the whole speech here

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