Thursday, March 31, 2016

The New Social Media

Lately, I've been experimenting with Periscope and Snapchat.

Both of these platforms are new social media, even though today's teenagers have probably been using them since middle school. Snapchat came out in 2011. Periscope came out last year (and has since been acquired by Twitter).

Snapchat is multi-media chat. You and your friends send 'snaps' to one another. These snaps are video, pictures, and even plain old text. In Snapchat, you can also draw and label and add emoji to your snaps, adding to the whimsy. Snaps are between two people, but you can post snaps into Stories which all your friends can read.

Periscope is live video broadcast from your smart phone. You can be at the beach or at the mall or even at home and viewers can see whatever you point your camera at. Viewers can chat with you and other viewers on your scope, though they're limited to text and emoji.

Both feature disappearing content. Anything that you post on these platforms is temporary. This simple concept introduces a profound change in how we express ourselves electronically. After your snap has been viewed on Snapchat, it disappears. After your scope has been up for 24 hours on Periscope, it disappears. Snapchat asked "what if we rethought the whole idea of the assumed permanence of social media?" What if?

(It should be pointed out that snaps can be saved and Periscope videos can be found, provided you're willing to perform a few technical steps.)

There's a certain lightness I feel posting updates to these new media. I'm posting true slices of my life. I think I'm more whimsical on these platforms. There's less self-editing. I've made rules of conduct for myself on social media but they don't seem as pertinent on SnapChat or Periscope.

As I said: I'm experimenting. If you're on these platforms, look for me at 'rickumali'.