Are you looking for a new way to waste time? Of course you are. Then let me direct your attention to Snapchat. Yes, that dumb millennial app. It is by no means a perfect platform, but I’ve had it for about six years, and use it every day. Though I’m not using it to interact with my friends. No, see, that would be somewhat productive, and I’m not about that. I use Snapchat to watch content in the same way people watch YouTube.
And guess what? The content on Snapchat is actually decent. It was a really good move on the platform’s part to go from just a social platform to a social media platform. And any company/media production company that jumped on board made a good call. Now Snapchat offers a lot of original content that you could easily waste a morning consuming.
Snapchat’s original content can be lumped into five groups.
1. Compilation videos
These are fun because it’s not professionally produced content; it’s submitted videos from other Snapchat users that are compiled into videos. Best Of College, Best Of High School, Life Hacks, Oddly Satisfying, Sound Up, Bad Tattoos, and 10 Second Talents are a few of my favourites. I also watch a lot of videos of people cutting soap into little pieces because it’s weirdly addicting and satisfying. I’ve wasted an embarrassing amount of time doing this.
2. ‘Famous’ People
Notice how famous is in quotations because this usually just means YouTubers of varying degrees of popularity. Honestly, I don’t watch these that often, but sometimes I like to laugh at how dumb their stories are (useless life updates or selfies or lip syncing to hip-hop in a car makes up 75% of it all).
3. Actual Snapchat original content
Snapchat has a fun variety of original content. Some are like little reality shows (eg. Face Forward, How Low Will You Go, Phone Swap) and there are a few news/update type shows (What The Fashion, E!’s Rundown), but Snapchat also has some short scripted weekly shows. I’ve only seen a few episodes of one of these scripted shows and have no interest in any of the others because they all look very dumb with worse-than-current-Disney-Channel acting, but I’m fascinated with the potential that’s there. Goodness knows streaming services are popping up all over, and it’s wild to think that Snapchat of all things could have a play in that game. Their content is free and short, and that could appeal to many. And honestly, I’m sure if you were bored out of your mind, those videos would do their job of being entertaining.
Some sites you’re probably familiar with like Daily Mail, Vice, and Refinery29 have their own channels where they post news articles with moderate animation where acceptable (making use of the platform), which is cool because it’s making the relevant world news available in a new way to people who may not otherwise want to go out of their way to read it. Unlike Twitter or Facebook where you have to exit the social media platform and go to a new site to read the article, everything on Snapchat stays on Snapchat. You don’t ever leave the app, and that’s brilliant.
5. Cross Posted Content
It makes sense that media companies want their videos to reach people on many platforms, so there is also a good chunk of content that is from YouTube edited to fit to Snapchat too, and this is a decent idea because for someone like me who doesn’t watch a whole lot of YouTube, I’m now exposed to videos on Snapchat. Try Not To Laugh, Wired Autocomplete Interviews, and How Ridiculous are some of these things I enjoy watching through Snapchat.
Of course there are a few other things that don’t fit into these five categories well, but overall, this is a pretty good outline of what Snapchat has to offer.
The draw of Snapchat, for me at least, is that the content is usually short (between 2-10 mins most of the time) and it’s all on that app and easily available. Furthermore, all I have to do is watch. There are no comments or sharing buttons or anything like that. I just watch, maybe Subscribe if I want to easily find that series again, and that’s it.
And from a content creator perspective, it’s interesting too. Not that I have plans to create Snapchat content, but Snapchat, even from its social side, is not a numbers game. Like with Netflix, you can’t tell who gets the most views, you can’t tell what series get watched, you can’t tell how many people are subscribed. Of course the creators themselves can probably see numbers, but otherwise, it’s purely about the entertainment than it is the popularity, and that’s a cool thing in this world of numbers-driven social media.
The only changes I think I’d make at this time to Snapchat’s content is the ability to scrub video timestamps and speed up videos. Otherwise, I am very much enjoying the content and its availability, and if you want to waste time too (or amuse yourself while on the bus or on a break or something) then check out Snapchat.
That’s all for now!