It took me ages, but I think I finally get Snapchat.
I didn’t understand the UI for ages, didn’t get how stories worked, didn’t see what else it offered over and above other messaging apps.
But then it clicked. I think.
It strikes me that Snapchat is the first of the mainstream apps that allows people to have skills (skillz, sklz, sssklllzzzzz, skiiiillszzzzzzzsss etc). Others, like Vine, have spawned a lot of highly creative high-end users, showcasing some really high quality work. But that’s always felt highly different to the normal users’ experience of it.
Snapchat, however, has skills (skillz, sklz, sssklllzzzzz, skiiiillszzzzzzzsss etc) baked into the everyday experience. It’s lowered the bar for creative content, and done it in a (fairly) user-friendly and (increasingly) mass market way.
It allows for people to showcase their own creativity within their own peer groups, and be an app that normal users can “be really good at”, all the while not taking away from the main purpose of one-to-one and one-to-many messaging and retaining the “burn after reading” functionality from which it gained popularity.