Social media, oh what a beautiful tool you are. It has allowed us to redefine what it is to be social. Not only that but also allow us to “be more in tuned” with the rest of the world. One of the ways we see this can be through Facebook’s “what’s trend” section. It’s a great way to see what people are talking about and what can be of an importance to you.
Our lovely Snapchat has gone a similar route. If you aren’t aware of what Snapchat is, it’s a social media application that can be downloaded onto your phone and through it, you can send 1-10second picture/video to someone in your contacts or display it on your story (which will only be visible for 24hrs). You can customize the snap with several filters and/or add cool features to how you look like. What they decided to do is allow media outlets advertise their work in a “Discover” section. ALSO, what they did a few years ago is allow people to contribute to a Story that is happening in that day and it can be viewed locally, nationally or internationally.
A way that Snapchat first did this is collecting stories from everyone in the world during New Year’s Eve. Everyone in the world was connected at that moment and saw Australia, South Africa, Irland, Brazil, and North America go into the new year together. It was fascinating for me to watch.
As time went on… we saw different events and stories pop up from international holidays, religious festivities, local sports games, and impacting events. Today… I saw something different. I’m sorry for the long intro here but I think it’s important to know what Snapchat was like before this moment.
This morning, October 22nd, 2016, I saw a story about “Attack on ISIS” on Snapchat.
Some of the snaps that consisted in the story were:
I think this just gave a whole new meaning of news reporting.
I’m honestly not too sure how I feel about this story. I believe people do have the right to know what is happening in this very important and affected area in the world, but I wonder if Snapchat is getting any gain from this. I wonder because I wouldn’t want them profiting in some form from these tragedies.
I’m also on the fence on how people are just casually filming these scenes as if it’s just some other day in the life. I guess I may just be taken back that this may just be their version of a car accident, as in we tend to stop in look the car in an accident and occasionally film it.
It’s interesting to see how news reporting has evolved too. The reporter in the pictures, which I believe is Alex Marquardt an ABC news reporter, is seen in about 3 or 4 snaps explaining certain situations for us viewers. We are given images of post attacks and people suffering from them. I basically saw what I would have been seeing if I were to watch CBC or CNN. But this time, it was on my phone, through an application I would filter my face with dog ears.
At this point, I’m not too sure how I feel. I like the fact that it gives those who barely know about the situation in Irag a good sense of what’s going on. But I am also disturbed by the idea that these people are on Snapchat while these things are happening. It’s not that I don’t see people in this part of the world NOT using Snapchat… it’s not that. I just don’t think it is an appropriate use of the medium. And I am a strong believer that the Medium is the Message.
There’s a tweet that sums up how I feel about it though:
The evolution of news is taking form after seeing this story. News reporting is just trying to get to exactly where people are and that’s in social media. They will attract just as many viewers, get more impressions and most likely share it. I’m very bittersweet about it all.
So as humans and technologies evolve, so will the forms and ways we communicate with each and that includes news reporting.
What are your thoughts on this matter? Do you think it was appropriate for Snapchat to have created this story? Do you think there are other ways of sharing this story?
Let me know,