What do you do if you’re the best-known app in the sexting business and you want your fame to last for a little bit longer than 11 seconds? Snapchat has been working on this issue and thinks it has addressed them with a new feature, Stories. What Stories does is turn all of a user’s photos into a slideshow which they can share with either just their friends or with everyone. And, in keeping with Snapchat’s ephemerality, they’re gone in 24 hours and replaced, should you choose, by a newer one. An attractive proposition, perhaps, for celebrities, who want to share what they do with their fans, but don’t want to be forever reminded of any youthful indiscretion*.
It’s like a benevolent version of Groundhog Day,.
The app’s CEO Evan Spiegel has given an extensive interview to The Verge in which he quotes the firm’s own sociology researcher, Nathan Jurgenson. The very success of the existing social networks will be their eventual downfall, claims Jurgenson, with people now having two different personae, online and offline. “There’s this weird thing that happens when you contribute something to a static profile,” says Spiegel. “You have to worry about how this new content fits in with your online persona that’s supposed to be you. It’s uncomfortable and unfortunate.”
The firm, whose disposability has social networks such as Facebook reportedly scrabbling to unveil their own versions, as well as spin-off apps such as Spirit and Blinklink, ran into some controversy earlier this year after a data engineer revealed that Snapchat users’ deleted photos could in fact be retrieved from the company servers.
*We all know, though, it doesn’t quite work like that.