My object of study for the course is SnapChat. SnapChat is a photo messaging application that allows users to take/record pictures and videos with texts and drawings. The users are able to set the time limit, controlling how long the recipients will be able to see the image. The time limits range from 1 to 10 seconds. Once this time lapses, the recipient will no longer be able to access the images. According to the SnapChat website, once the time lapses the recipient will be unable to access the image and it will be deleted from the Snap Chat’s server.
The design of SnapChat itself is simple. Once the application is open the users camera is activated. The user sees a screen with a large circle, outlined in white at the bottom center of the screen. The user can snap a photo by pressing this circle. The user has the option to hold the circle and record up to 10 seconds of video. To the right of the circle the user has a menu button, which lead to the “My Friends” list. To the left of the circle, the user is able to access a log of sent and received “snaps.” Once a “snap” is taken, the user can add a layer of text by touching the image and typing a message. The user also has the option of selecting a pencil icon, choosing from a list of colors, and drawing on the image. After the user has taken the “snap” added text and/or drawing, the user can select the amount of time the recipient will have to view the image. Finally, the user hits a small arrow, shaped like a paper plane, to send the snap. Once this is selected, the user can decide who will receive the snap. The snap can be sent to as many individuals as desired.
I am interested in examining SnapChat as a network because, currently, the most popular concept of network right now is a social network. Social Networks like MySpace, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter are all networks that focused on the creation of profiles, sharing, and making lasting connections. What is interesting about SnapChat is that it encourages users to connect with their social network, but between 1 and 10 seconds at a time. SnapChat is interesting as it allows users to make connections with existing friends, but also open themselves up to send and receive chats from people unknown. An interesting aspect of Snap Chat, according to Liz Gannes in “Fast-Growing Photo-Messaging App Snapchat Launches on Android, a significant number of SnapChats are sent to groups instead of individuals. What impact does this have on the concept of social networking? What does this new, ephemeral form of communication mean for social networking and mediated communication? These are the types of questions, I am interested in exploring in regards to Snap Chat.
Snap Chat is useful to English Studies because it offers a glimpse into rhetoric of messaging, networks, and the study of time/space in communication. SnapChat offers an exploration of kairos and spontaneity, privacy concerns, ephemeral nature of social media, and the role of body in communication.