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Why I Gave up on SnapChat

By Tim Hughes | @Timothy_Hughes

I think I must have been a fairly early adopter of Snapchat.  My partner has two boys and I tried to find ways to build some connection with them.  I don’t and never wanted to be a step-dad, but at least buy them a beer and have a conversation with them.

The 17-year-old (now 22) was an avid user of Snapchat and through the app I got a window into his world.  Apart from working in social media and needing a working knowledge (and opinion) of most social media applications, I set myself a task of learning the app.

It’s probably worth saying that most people over 30 (and I know this is a sweeping generalisation) said they didn’t get the user interface, something I set about mastering.

In fact, I had a masterclass from Ted Rubin while sitting in a restaurant in London.  Which is a bit like getting a guitar masterclass from one of your favourite rock stars.

One-to-one comments, real engagement?

One of the things I had difficulty mastering was the fact that on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn interaction and engagement is the norm. On Snapchat, (for me anyway) it was the exception.

It was Brian Fanzo (probably the best person I know at the art of snapchat) who said that in fact for brands the mechanism on snapchat was better as comments were one-to-one while on other social networks it is public.

Snapchat (the way it was explained to me by two 20-year-olds) replaces television.  People become famous for sharing either parts of their lives or what they do, and people turned in.  One famous snap chatter is a plastic surgeon who snaps his procedures like Vloggers on YouTube.

My love with Snapchat has waned for two reasons:

  1. This is pretty much a broadcast platform. You record short videos and broadcast them out and hope somebody watches them.  Whereas on twitter, when I share, it’s great to see people agree, disagree, engage and debate.
  2. The platform was hijacked by adverts and spammers (sometimes that is the same thing). I recall sitting down and watching a Snapchat guru YouTube video.  It was a recording from a conference and it was billed as “How a B2B Business Can Make Money from Snapchat”.  Excellent, I thought. Now, as well as personal use I can bring Snapchat into my social selling portfolio.  How disappointed I was that this video was just about how to send people “unwanted ads”.  I say unwanted as all are ads unwanted are they not?  In fact, not long after this video came out there was a “pitched battle” on Facebook as people called this guru out for spamming them with unwanted ads on Snapchat and unfollowing took place.

Anyway, I still use Snapchat, more often to send quick videos to my partner.Oh, and happy endings?  Last night I bought the 22-year-old a beer and had a conversation with him.

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