Did you know the Oxford Dictionary named “Selfie” as the 2013 word of the year?
Instant messaging technology has changed the way we communicate. It’s efficient, but there is nothing unique about it about it anymore. When things get boring, they receive less attention, which opens up doors for new companies to steal marketshare. Not by reinventing how we communicate, but by adding a unique layer to the product. If it’s truly unique and easy to understand, people will share it.
Snapchat was started by Evan Spiegal and Reggie Brown, however the company was incorporated by Evan Speigel and Robert Murphy in July 2011. All three were students at Stanford University at the time. Brown currently owns 0% of the company, but is currently fighting for one-third ownership of the company. Snapchat is a photo and video messaging application that allows friends and family to communicate via smartphones. The photos and videos disappear after 10 seconds or less. The time frame is chosen by the sender. Once the “snap” disappears, it’s no longer accessible. More recently, Snapchat released a feature called Snapchat Stories, which allows users to create a narrative of snaps that disappear in 24 hours.
Why is Snapchat called Snapchat?
The first version of Snapchat was launched under the name Picaboo. Due to slow user growth, Brown suggested they start marketing the app as a sexting tool. “Picaboo lets you and your boyfriend send photos for peeks and not keeps!” reads a draft of a press release he wrote (Source). Spiegal changed the name to Snapchat after receiving a cease-and-desist letter from a photo-book company with the name, “Picaboo.” The name Snapchat is derived from the intention of sending short snaps that disappear. Another thing that makes the app unique is that you can add doodles and short messages that overlay on the image or video. The app has appealed to a young demographic (18-25 year olds) and is famously known for selfies and sexting.
SEE ALSO: Why is it Called Twitter?
Meet the Michelangelo of Snapchat: Shaun Mcbride
People have gained influence on Twitter and Instagram, why not Snapchat?
Follow him on Twitter: @Shonduras
What’s up with the Ghost in the logo?
Reggie Brown may have been ousted from the company, however he did come up with two important elements of the app. The first being the app mascot known as “Ghostface Chillah” which is derived from Ghostface Killah of the hip hop group Wu-Tang Clan. He also came up with the idea for snaps to disappear after a short period of time. Spiegel admitted this during his April 2013 deposition.
Spiegel and Murray didn’t just turn down Facebook…
Facebook failed to gain marketshare when they released “Poke,” their version of Snapchat. After Murray and Spiegel turned down Facebook, Instagram (owned by Facebook) launched a private video sharing element to their app. Most likely an attempt to gain marketshare from the younger demographic. In February, Facebook purchased Instant messaging app “WhatsApp” for 19 billion dollars. What kids turn down billions of dollars? The answer is simple, they think Snapchat will be more valuable in the future. They have currently raised $123M in funding from some of the biggest VC’s in Silicon Valley.
Although Snapchat hasn’t made any revenue yet, brands are starting to get creative. Late last year, Snapchat announced they are receiving over 400M snaps sent per day. Are you still using Snapchat? Thanks for reading Why it is called SnapChat?! #whyisitcalledsnapchat
Post Update: SnapChat launches “Discover” to allow users to explore stories from different editorial teams.
Post Update: Oh Snap! SnapChat goes public.
Adam Lang is the founder and editor of Rewind & Capture. He is passionate about creative marketing, design and brand etymology.