lundi 18 novembre 2013

The Time of Snapchat: towards an ephemeralnet?

Social networks and photo messaging, Facebook is getting less young, young people might prefer Snapchat. Maybe, maybe not: by the way, do we have audited stats for mobile apps?
Send me a snap! You get it, it's gone. Snaps are ephemeral: they disappear a few seconds after they are opened (from 1 to 10 seconds, sender's choice), unbundled temporary states of mind. Snaps are definitively unique. And Snapchat is not the only ephemeral messaging app, there is also Leo, Confide, Blink (acquired by Yahoo!) or Frankly, for instance. On the other hand, Instagram has launched a private photo-sharing service (Instagram Direct). No more broadcast: are social apps trying to reassure and avoid privacy issues ?
Update June 2014
"The liquid self", as the Snapchat blog says, questions "the assumed permanence of social media content" and the "unchanging identity".
"Liquid self" : it sounds like Zygmunt Bauman and his "liquid modernity". We are living "in an age of uncertainty". Social communication of this age should be temporary. Is Snapchat a social media for a time of "social disintegration", an "era of instantaneity" and "immediate data of consciousness" ("données immédiates de la conscience", Henri Bergson).
Linearity of time has always been disrupted by technology (books, records, DVR, mailboxes, catchup TV, etc.). Books, letters and photos are kept, archived: libraries. On the contrary, Snapchat reduces the flow of time into instants, lost forever in a stream of life, while Facebook builds a "timeline" ("Timeline is the story of your life", says Mark Zuckerberg).

Snapchat, like YounityFrankly, FYEO or Wickr in some ways, brings no trace, no memory, no past, nothing to forget. No old data, only present, no story, no storytelling. Memorylessness (as in a Markov chain). No nostalgia?
As Zygmunt Bauman notes: "A swift and thorough forgetting of outdated information and fast ageing habits can be more important for the next success than the memorization of past moves and the building of strategies on a foundation laid by previous learning." Snapchat can be understood as a symbolic revolution in the form of time. Is our time now made of moments, a succession of brief innovations, no history but snaps. Is digital technology of communication changing time?
After all, maybe an erasable Web would be better, safer... But no digital past, no data!

- With Poke by Facebook Poke, you could choose how long the message you are sending will be available (up to 10 seconds).
- Of course, you can still make a screenshot of a Snapchat message.
- Some brands are testing ephemeral advertising (cf. "Social Snapping").

Update : July 2016, Snapchat introduces Snapchat Memories.

Bauman, Zygmunt, Liquid Modernity, Polity Press, 2000
Bauman, Zygmunt, Liquid Times. Living in a time of Uncertainty, Polity Press, 2007
Bergson, Henri, La Pensée et le mouvant, Essais et conférences, 1903-1923, in Œuvres, Paris, PUF, 1959
Bergson, Henri, Essai sur les données immédiates de la conscience, 1889, Paris
Jurgenson, Nathan, "Temporary social media", Snapchat blog, July 19, 2013
Jurgenson, Nathan, "The liquid self", Snapchat blog, September 20, 2013.
Manjoo, Fahrad, "Do we want an erasable Internet?,, December 22, 2013.

1 commentaire:

Natacha226 a dit…

La plateforme a certes un poids fondamental mais elle peine à se défaire de sa réputation de gadget voué à échanger des sextos en toute discrétion ou des images stupides.
Son atout: Snapchat offre une certaine proximité entre les gens, qui recherchent autre chose que leur vaste fil d'actualité facebook.
Si la popularité de l'application ne peut être contredite certaines failles pourront se retourner contre elle: de nombreux piratages de photos, numéros et vidéos ont été effectués depuis le lancement de l'application.
Histoire à suivre...