Thursday, December 3, 2020

Selfie-sharing app informs users on news

Every college student either uses or knows about Snapchat — at least every college student should.

For those who aren’t familiar with the Snapchat phone app, it’s used to send photos that disappear after whatever number of seconds the sender chooses. Users can also post a “Snapchat story,” which all friends can view for the next 24 hours. There’s a catch, of course. Viewers can screenshot photos, but at least the sender is notified. Anyway, that’s what Snapchat is primarily used for: chatting through quick snaps.

But luckily for those who have yet to enter the Snapchat galaxy of shooting stars and dancing ghosts, it’s the perfect time to get into the notorious app. Why? Well, it’s added a new feature: Discover.

Snapchat’s Discover feature, launched last week, provides news to its users. One swipe right from the home screen, aka the camera, is the list of Snapchat stories. None of those stories matter anymore, though.

What does matter is that purple circle on the top right corner of the screen. It’s beating impatiently, waiting to be pushed. That button leads to a land of cancer-curing sloths, driver-less pods and bare-booty Kim Kardashian.

Literally.

The Discover feature offers news from 12 media outlets: VICE, CNN and the Daily Mail, just to name a few. Into gossip? Check out People or Cosmo. Into nature? They have National Geographic for that. Discover has news for all consumers, which they can watch on their phones while in bed. There’s nothing like waking up to some morning news.

Snapchat even went above and beyond to create its own editorial content — and the content looks pretty effing cool, man. They have “Daily 3,” three important topics of the day like new Kanye West music; “To Be Honest,” an amusing and helpful advice column; “Under The Ghost,” which features videos of musicians including Huxlee; and a quick read about a high-profile news topic.

Snapchat users now have the ability to read or watch a video about what’s going on. And the news is conveyed in a visually appealing manner. Sound effects or music accompany the stories. Photography and typography are also on point.

Critics, however, say these news outlets already have apps that provide news. And they’re right. But how many of Snapchat’s users have those apps on their phones? My friends and I, who constantly consume news, are most likely the minority.

Two-thirds of Snapchat users are younger than 25, according to a 2014 Business Insider report. A 2009 Pew Research survey found that Americans aged 18-34 don’t keep up with current events the way older folks do. Out of 12 current event questions, they averaged 5.9 correct answers.

My point? Young people don’t consume news. Most Snapchat users don’t consume news. And they should. Everyone should. Now, Snapchat is bringing the news to them. Teens already have Snapchat on their phones. And now they have Comedy Central, ESPN and Yahoo! News too.

Snapchat has even devised a plan to ensure the active minds of teenagers and college kids don’t get bored. Like regular snap stories, the Discover stories are refreshed within 24 hours too. News breaks every day, and Snapchat is making sure its users are given the opportunity to know about it.

I applaud this app entering the journalism field. The public can never have too much news.

In the world of Snapchat, which has been a notorious channel for dick pics and underage porn, this is quite revolutionary. It’s an upgrade. Kudos, Snapchat team. I’m sure as hell digging it.

Email Cardinal Points at cp@cardinalpointsonline.com.

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