The increasingly social world of journalism found a new platform this week. On the revamped stories page of the social media app Snapchat, a combination of news and entertainment outlets have found a new home, giving media outlets yet another platform for disseminating their stories.
Journalists and advertisers increasingly tell stories through various social media platforms, facing the question of how they can best tell those stories. Without a doubt, traditional means of communicating news have been restructured based on the need to put information out quicker, more regularly and in line with what is now a highly commercialized industry.
With the Internet granting 24/7 access to information, media outlets are now held accountable for maintaining a steady stream of news. This information is accessed via articles on Facebook, links on Twitter and now on Snapchat with its new pages from various media channels.
How the update works is Snapchat users get a screen of twelve icons that collectively represent a variety of news sources. The list includes CNN, People, Cosmopolitan, Vice, Yahoo News, The Food Network and Warner Music Group to name a few. What had formerly been an application relegated with the task of sending selfies to bffs and baes is now a reliable source for fresh knowledge.
What sets it apart from other social media apps, like Twitter, is its emphasis on more visual media. Twitter feeds are often filled with wordy updates from The Wisconsin State Journal or WKOW, but tweets often lack what Snapchat now offers—an enticing way of presenting such information. Outlets like National Geographic and Food Network thrive on this platform, offering videos of animals in the wild and recipe tutorials, respectively.
Updated on a daily basis, this steady flow of valuable content is exciting and engaging. But what is perhaps most appealing is the app’s convenience and accessibility. The ease of the new feature is impressive and adds to the likelihood that users will use the tool. What becomes key to capturing and maintaining a strong audience in any journalistic endeavor is making an effort to diversify the content available. Covering a broad range of topics will support the mission of accumulating a sturdy base of followers. Snapchat has taken this tenet of journalism to heart considering the nature of the information provided. Each of the 12 outlet options is distinct enough to represent a variety of interests.
For instance, much of the streams over the weekend were rife with Super Bowl-related commentary. Though all were covering a similar topic, each source presented their story differently in a way that would appeal to their target audience. ESPN, of course, offered extensive coverage of the big game, while Comedy Central aimed to spur some giggles with Key & Peele sketches on football highlights. Cosmopolitan also took part in the festivities with photos from their fabricated “Puppy Bowl 2014” that featured adorable puppies, providing another option for a diversity of interests.
Puppies aside, the best feature of the new update is how in-depth each piece can get while maintaining the same easy convenience. Whether it’s international news from CNN regarding the decline of Ebola in Liberia or a finding from National Geographic that tiny mites are having sex on your face, there is a variety of easily accessible knowledge available on the new Snapchat. The application has right at their fingertips an audience who otherwise may not have been using other sources to access such information. According to Business Insider, the majority of Snapchat users fall between the ages of 13 and 25. Thanks to their already frequent use of Snapchat, individuals of this age group may now be more likely to scroll through the latest in current events. The application therefore encourages or at the very least provides an alternate outlet for news that takes advantage of the platform’s multimedia capabilities and is very visually appealing.
In an age of information overload, it has nearly become necessary to spoon-feed bits of newsworthy content to the masses so that people can be informed to an acceptable degree. Despite the great deal of access to current event news, individuals are arguably finding themselves overwhelmed to the point of indifference. Respect Snapchat for their bold move and strategic emergence as a new player in the field of media giants.