SCIENTISTS say that the reason why Snapchat’s disappearing pictures platform is so addictive is that the platform provides the perfect combination of a service that allows people to maintain relationships with close friends without being overly complicated.
Researchers at Texas Tech University said that some of the features that makes Snapchat such a popular platform is its ability to let users post short, quick videos or photos, thus catering to an audience with diminishing attention spans as well as those who don’t like super assertive conversation.
“People use Snapchat a lot because of its entertainment and functional needs,” said J.J. Delacruz, a graduate student at Texas Tech, according to DNA India.
“For certain people, it enables them to overcome communication apprehension by using a different means of communication where they don’t have a threat in their face.”
Snapchat may be perfect for those who want to reach out to a public audience, but who do not want to be overwhelmed by the complexity of a text-heavy platform such as Twitter or Facebook. Snapchat provides a medium for the hesitant social media user as their posts get erased after 24 hours, making their existence ephemeral and far less concerning than a permanent entry.
“It’s very different from the traditional social media because it only records 10 seconds worth of snaps that are very, very quick,” said Narissra Punyanunt-Carter.
“So if I have a lot of friends, that is very time consuming to sit down and watch all their posts on most social media platforms,” she said, unlike Snapchat which entices people to constantly use it to stay updated and in touch with their friends.
For the study, researchers recruited students who use Snapchat, and asked them about their reasons for using the medium, including needs and motivations.
The platform also capitalizes on established relationships, thus making it less important to impress their audience. Users tend to trust the app much more, researchers found, as they know who is watching their videos and creators are much more willing to share their content. There is also less pressure to present themselves inauthentically, respondents said, due to the brevity of Snaps.
“It takes away the pressure of coming up with a great message or great topic, or coming up with a way to present yourself that is socially acceptable,” Delacruz said, adding that Snapchat was seen as a poor platform to use to start new relationships.
“They thought that was a good way to maintain ties with people they were already very close with, interpersonally.”
Businesses could capitalize on this trust factor in order to really grow their relationships with customers. Consumers who really want to get to know a brand would, therefore, be more open to introducing Snapchat into the mix, which would really benefit brands. Furthermore, if brands are able to bring in a personality into their posts, they could tap into a platform-addiction that isn’t available on any other platform.