More than 8,796 Snapchats are sent every second, according to the Pew Research Center.
Among college students, more than 70 percent use Snapchat every day, according to the marketing group Sumpto. With more students using the app than not, the question of whether Snapchat is good for nudes or news has hit the campus of Colorado State University.
Because of how instant the communication is, as well as how easily accessible it is, Snapchat could potentially be educating millions of people about the world they live in.
Lately, the app has put a spotlight on lesser-known celebrations and events around the world through the “stories” feature.
“I would say, with Snapchat especially, with these different short video clips, it is creating a larger global space,” said Sierra Method, who is currently pursuing her graduate degree in applied anthropology with an international focus. “This fun app that you can just push and have just 30 seconds of Ireland or whatever it is — it’s a fun way to access this larger global context.”
Last week included Fashion Week in France, the Hot Air Balloon Festival in New Mexico, Ballet Day, Farmers Around the World and various international sporting events. In the past, the app has featured the Tomatillo Festival, the Giant Festival in Spain and political events both national and international.
Snapchat had undergone an evolution, but some CSU students said the app has not moved past its bad reputation. Samuel Iven, a graduate student currently working on a master’s in public history, said the app is more scandalous than informative.
“I’m one of the few people in my friend group who doesn’t have a Snapchat,” Iven said. “I don’t hear about the innocuous side of Snapchat — I only hear the negative side. The sexting scandals, teenagers in high school, things like that.”
Mareena Winchell, a freshman health and exercise science major, said Snapchat is fun, but many still associate it with nudes.
The app has come a long way since its since its conception as a school project at Stanford University.
“I get a lot of information from Snapchat,” said sophomore journalism major James Wyatt. “I wouldn’t have known about the stampede that killed 700 people if I hadn’t been following that story.”
On Sept. 24, more than 1,100 were killed and close to 900 were injured during one of the last parts of the Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, the Hajj. Snapchat had been covering the event on the days leading up to the incident. The day the accident took place, the Snapchat story reported the deaths.
One of the reasons the app may have remained so popular is the constant updates and the “stories” from around the world.
North America contains a huge concentration of Snapchat’s users, but the app is popular in the Middle East, Europe, South America and other places across the globe. According to Business Insider, last year the app’s global reach extended beyond North American and into countries like Nepal, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Iceland and Belgium.
“It increases our worldview,” said Charlie LeBaron, a freshman with a business interest. “I see things that I wouldn’t have otherwise.”
LeBaron’s hometown is Chicago. Back home, there is a constant stream made by and for Chicagoans.
“We can always see what’s going on around the city — once, I saw my friends and me on the story,” LeBaron said.
Collegian Reporter Tatiana Talesnick-Parafiniuk can be reached online at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @tatianasophiapt.