Once regarded as simply a platform for teens to share content they would rather not have linger, Snapchat looks to have finally broken out of its adolescent confines to move from niche social network to mainstream platform. Older generations are now snapping away their day, too, making a real impact on Snapchat's growth. “While the service has grown 59 percent in the last year to 40.3 million US adult users (as of November), it has grown 69 percent among people age 25 to 34 according to ComScore. Nearly 27 percent of US adult web surfers this age are on it" (Wired).
Why did teens take to it so quickly while adults took baby steps? Personally, I think that this is due to the fleeting nature of the platform. Our generation is the archive generation. Pictures were something that required an investment of time, effort and money. Remember the ritual of dropping film rolls off at the drug store, and then waiting a few days to pick them up? And paying for them on top of that? I think that commitment to our content has translated to the digital world. We want to save everything, backup everything. But today’s generation? Pictures, videos and other content are created and consumed on demand. Like life moments, they are simply building blocks that make up their day. When my daughter makes brilliantly funny snaps, I ask her if she's OK with them disappearing after 24 hours from her Snapchat Stories. She just shrugs and says “I’ll make more.”
While the thought of losing great content admittedly makes me twitch a little, this is the reality of the next generation of consumers. Content is dynamic; it is on-demand, real-time and completely integrated into their lives. It’s not “online” or “offline” anymore. The divisions are not that distinct. I think it’s time we call it “inline." Technology cannot be separated from the moments that constitute our lives. It is our lives. As marketers, this is the new reality we need to face. We can tap into our customers’ lives as a useful, albeit fleeting experience, or rest on the sidelines trying to divert their attention and archiving our decline.