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Why I’m on Snapchat & Why Other Social Sucks

I think I’m just anti social. I hadn’t realised before, but it fits.

Don’t worry, not anti-SOCIAL-social. I’m not planning to run off to my hermit cave, just yet. Just, anti-social-media.

Recently, at a CMA meetup, I was described as a ‘social skeptic’. That makes me feel a little less outcast, so let’s go with that. Whatever the term, though, I have to admit it surprised me. I hadn’t realised I’d been that obvious with my social-hate leanings.

Colin Gray Snapchat Snapcode - the Podcast HostIt’s even stranger based on the fact that I am, in every other way, an early adopter. I’ll buy into any tool, gadget or game that launches as long as it does something quicker, fancier or newer.

But, social? Nope – I just don’t need any more places to live online…

What Social Sucks?

Ok, flame fingers at the ready. Here’s what social sucks.

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Facebook – the realm of banal, cat-baby mutterings, and a place where it’s most certainly pay to play in business. Real engagement? Little and expensive.

Twitter – a sh*t-storm of shouting, screaming and automated spam (Look at me! Look at me!) punctuated by the (very) occasional engaged conversation.

Periscope – deep engagement is possible, but there’s no scale! Always at the ready, you can’t follow many, and there’s no repurposing worth trying. It’s mostly lost time…

Instagram – engagement, sure, if you can differentiate yet another quote-pic, but with what result? You can build a kingdom, but find no way to export your subjects.

Others – yea, yea, this list is the merest tip of the iceberg, but where else do your audience live worth trying?

So, Snapchat? What Age are you?

That takes us to Snapchat. Here’s somewhere I’m far from an early adopter. We’ve been hearing about the platform for years – a vehicle for naked selfies and teenage chatter. I’d discounted it as just another communication app I have no pals on.

What changed that? Well, pals, actually. Seems I have quite a few on there.

And it seems that a bunch of them are telling amazing stories about their life.

Logging my Life

Here’s what caught my eye. I’ve been attempting to find a way to journal for years. I’ve written, I’ve vlogged and I’ve podcasted. But, the personal, everyday, bit-at-a-time journalling just doesn’t work for me. I get bored, I miss a day, a week, a year.

It’s the chunking of it (having to plan one biggish activity, once a day), and the lack of feedback that gets me. Either I can’t be arsed one day, or I just think, why bother, who’ll miss it?

Without even knowing it, I’ve been waiting for Snapchat stories all my life. A way to grab the quickest of snatches – a photo, a tiny clip – and play around with it, so it represents a moment in my life.

Oh, and don’t forget the narcissim. I can stick that online and my friends can tell me how funny/cool/moving I am.

Ego. Boosted.

Well, apart from that guy that called me boring, but he just strings together up-the-nostril shots. What does he know?

Anyway, hairy orifices aside, that’s the first hook: Snapchat, for me, is personally useful, fun and fulfilling. It’s not just marketing.

Storytelling, Again and Again

But, it’s also marketing.

I did like the idea of Periscope. I love the idea of quick and dirty broadcast – reaching your audience right where they live. But, the problem is, it’s completely un-scalable.

As a watcher, you have to be so on-demand that it’s impossible to follow many people. That means, for the broadcaster, that audiences are restricted for all but those that hit the big leagues and grow fame through fame.

Restricted audiences aren’t a bad thing, necessarily. A lot of people have done really well by going deep rather than wide; small audiences, but fanatical followers. All you need are your 1000 true fans to earn your crust.

The thing is, with a small audience, reaching 50 people at a time, I NEED to make that time work for me. Half an hour spent talking to a small crowd is fulfilling, but it’s not smart. I just don’t have much disposable time at work. Therefore, call me old fashioned, but the time needs to do just that: work.

For me, that means re-purpose. It means getting more than one thing out of every activity. It means a video that’s turned into a podcast. A podcast that’s turned into a blog. A blog that’s turned into a social graphic. And on, and on.

This is what hooked me with Snapchat. You can keep it. You can use it. You can make it work, and work.

You can tell your own story, download it, and then use it for anything you like. That means YouTube, Podcast, Blog, Social. Again, and again.

How I’m using Snapchat

I’ve been taking some heat for this. People tell me, “You’ll ruin the platform! Use it for what’s it meant for! Instant, forgettable, move on.”

I think they’re wrong. I think it can work both ways.

I’m using Snapchat for all the reasons I mentioned above – to log my life, to journal, to reflect. That’s what it’s meant for, it seems to me. Quick, personal and unedited.

But I’m also using it to develop my storytelling. I’m trying to get creative, to entertain, to inform, and to do it in a way others aren’t. And I’m doing that so that I create material that’s worthwhile posting elsewhere.

The aim is to create snapchat material that people love, and so why wouldn’t they love it elsewhere?

Colin Gray Snapchat Snapcode - the Podcast HostOf course, I’m a long way from that. I’m still blathering at the camera, taking too long, chaining endless videos and drawing crap on my photos. But, I’ve hit on a few little little tricks that I think work well. Vitally, I’m getting better at speaking to the camera. That’s a bonus on it’s own.

I have to admit, I’m addicted in a way I’ve not been since the earliest days of Facebook. Back when, for some reason, people were just a lot more entertaining. It’s nothing to do with a slide into my 30s, along with my friends, of course…

I’ll keep snapping, hopefully you’ll start watching, and it might even do a bit of marketing along the way. I've become a fan of people on the platform, and I hope I draw a few of my own to the Podcast Host.

But if not? Who cares. It’s fun. The story will continue.

Oh and please follow along, of course. I'd love to see you on there.

Discussion:

  1. PShanker on 15th February 2016 at 12:34 pm

    It’s a great platform and have downloaded but have absolutely no clue how to use it. 🙂

    • Colin Gray on 24th February 2016 at 11:38 am

      Haha, that’s the problem most of us have! It’s certainly different from most traditional apps, but it’s OK once you get used to it.

  2. KT on 23rd February 2016 at 11:08 pm

    Good commentary. I’m a late user to social media and agree with some of your sentiments. Never dumb to the importance of social apps or how to use them but just never been a trend follower and these social mediums are the epitome of trendy. While the concept is now an accepted “social” ideology, each medium (app) is akin to clothing designers, in that clothes are a must to be part of society but nobody wears Cross Color jeans anymore. Who’s the next trend setter? Since the fickle youth demographic drives most of these, will we ever see a social media concept that withstands time like a Levi Strauss or are they all doomed to Jordash purgatory?

    • Colin Gray on 24th February 2016 at 11:37 am

      Yea, I know what you mean KT – there’s too much jumping on bandwagons, but then that’s been going on for years and years, and is unlikely to stop any time soon! I think if you can figure out a strategy of your own, and stick to it over a significant length of time, then you’re in a hugely better position than being an early adopter on a dozen different platforms.

      Colin

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Written by:

Colin Gray

Colin has been teaching people how to podcast since 2007. He's worked with Universities, businesses and hobbyists alike. He started The Podcast Host to share his experience and to help as many people as possible get into Podcasting. He runs Podcraft, to spread the art of podcasting, and does the Mountain Bikes Apart podcast whenever he can. Who doesn't like to talk bikes, after all!

February 10th 2016