Snapchat is an instant-messaging app which allows you to send pictures and messages that self-destruct (well, disappear) ten seconds after being opened. The perceived ephemerality of these messages makes the service hugely popular among teens, who have obviously not given much thought to the screen-grab function on most smartphones.
Sure, the messages disappear, but the screenshots of these messages sure don’t — and what’s worrying about this is that some kids think they do. It’s much easier to convince someone to send something they shouldn’t if they think it’ll only exist for a few seconds.
SnapChat does alert the sender when a screenshot has been taken, but this feature is so easily bypassed that it’s totally redundant. Not that an alert is particularly useful anyway, as the picture has already been saved. What can you do beyond cry about it?
If the potential for abuse and consequent reputation-damage isn’t enough reason to doubt the future of Snapchat, there’s the very nature of its user-base to consider, too. The younger siblings of Snapchat’s current users won’t want to use Snapchat when they’re older.
They’ll want their own platform, because Snapchat’s novelty will have worn off. Look at how quickly kids move from Facebook to Instagram to Snapchat and so on – point is, they keep moving. And (sorry, Snapchat) they grow up – and realize how ill advised it was to EVER use it.
So what possible reason could Spiegel have for refusing to sell the two-year-old startup? The company is yet to make any revenue, so turning down $3 billion for it seems insane. But so does the whole concept, so who knows?
Our only guess is that he’s planning something big for the platform, or is waiting on a higher offer. Or maybe that his decision-making skills are as flawed as Snapchat’s security system. What do you think — will Spiegel live to regret this?