Rumor has it Yahoo wants to win back some cool company credibility by investing in ephemeral photo and video messaging app Snapchat. The funding hasn’t closed yet, but according to a report from the Wall Street Journal, the round values the company at $10 billion.
See also: Yahoo, Destroyer of Startups
Snapchat’s skyrocketing popularity and massive valuation has befuddled some people, especially when the startup reportedly spurned a $3 billion acquisition offer from Facebook last year. How is an application that lets you send and receive photos and videos from friends (and brands!) worth that much?
The messaging app doesn’t make money yet. But it’s reportedly exploring options for brands and publishers to offer paid news and advertising directly to Snapchatters. In the meantime, people who are confident of the app’s success are pointing directly to one group of mobile users driving its success—young people.
How To Understand Snapchat
And nothing will make you understand that faster than a new video by videographer Casey Neistat. His video “Snapchat Murders Facebook” includes, among other things (including a killer repurposing of clips from Goodfellas, Kill Bill and Breaking Bad ), interviews with several young people at a mass Snapchat-inspired gathering at New York City’s Union Square. That event took place spontaneously after a guy named Jerome Jarre, who collected a million followers by his third week on Snapchat, shared an invitation via a Snapchat “story” to join him there one afternoon.
On his way to Union Square, Jarre ran into a fan on the train who was heading to his event. And when he arrived at the park, hordes of fans greeted him. All because they saw his invite appear in the palm of their hands.
When Neistat asked the young people how frequently they use Snapchat, most replied they use it every day. Additionally, the guys and girls he spoke with seemed disenchanted with Facebook, and instead used Snapchat’s “stories” function to give friends a glimpse into their daily life for 24 hours before it disappears.
Instead of friends posting old photos to Facebook or Instagram, the people said that knowing what their friends were doing in the moment, letting them glimpse into their personal life without filters or tailored posts, was more meaningful.
Some of the more telling quotes from the young men and women were:
- “The real question is when I do I not use Snapchat.”
- “I check Snapchat often. People send me 100 seconds worth of snaps.”
- “I like it because there are actual stories, and it’s fun to watch.”
- “None of my friends use Facebook anymore.”
Snapchat Gliding Over All
Neistat’s video depicts the downfall of older social networks like Friendster and Myspace, and suggests that Snapchat might be a Facebook killer. Facebook isn’t going anywhere any time soon, but considering Snapchat’s popularity as a messaging service across the world, it may, at least, be the next WhatsApp, a company Facebook scooped up for $19 billion.
Snapchat still has some growing pains. Snap spam is a rampant problem for some people who elect to receive snaps from anyone, and the company has faced controversy over its privacy policies, and forced to settle with the Federal Trade Commission over lying to consumers about privacy. (Oops, LOL.)
And it still has to figure out how to make money from the photos and videos that last for anywhere from seconds a snap, to 24-hour stories. This may be a bigger problem than admirers like Neistat let on.
Still, Snapchat is no longer the simple sexting app it used to be—and some people are finally realizing it won’t be disappearing anytime soon.
Lead image screencapped from Casey Neistat’s video