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From: Glenn Petersen3/9/2017 9:51:01 AM
2 Recommendations   of 45
 
Snap Makes a Bet on the Cultural Supremacy of the Camera

Farhad Manjoo
STATE OF THE ART
New York Times
MARCH 8, 2017




The rising dependence on cameras is changing the way we communicate. Credit Doug Chayka
______________________

If you’re watching Snap’s stock ticker, stop. The company that makes Snapchat, the popular photo-messaging app, has been having a volatile few days after its rocket-fueled initial public offering last week.

But Snap’s success or failure isn’t going to be determined this week or even this year. This is a company that’s betting on a long-term trend: the rise and eventual global dominance of visual culture.

Snap calls itself a camera company. That’s a bit cute, considering that it only just released an actual camera, the Spectacles sunglasses, late last year. Snap will probably build other kinds of cameras, including potentially a drone.

But it’s best to take Snap’s camera company claim seriously, not literally. Snap does not necessarily mean that its primary business will be selling a bunch of camera hardware. It’s not going to turn into Nikon, Polaroid or GoPro. Instead it’s hit on something deeper and more important. Through both its hardware and software, Snap wants to enable the cultural supremacy of the camera, to make it at least as important to our daily lives as the keyboard.

Since even before the invention of the printing press, text has been the central way that humans communicate over long distances and across time. Computers only entrenched the primacy of text. The rise of desktop publishing in the 1980s turned all of us into composers of beautiful, printed documents.

Then the internet turned us into distributors of digital words. Suddenly we were all bloggers, emailers, tweeters and authors of Mediums and status updates. We ditched phone calls for written messages. We called these messages what they were: texts, as if we were describing the histories of ancients.

But then came the cellphone camera, and then, a decade ago, the smartphone. For the first time, it became possible for humans to instantly document their visual surroundings and to transmit what we saw with lifelike fidelity.

At first this seemed like a small change: We’d have more pictures of our families. A host of companies, from Facebook to Flickr to Instagram, latched on to this idea.

But Snapchat uncovered something deeper about the camera. Not only could we use pictures to document the world, but we could also use them to communicate. Snapchat, which was at first dismissed as a mere sexting app, showed that with the right design, a phone’s camera could add an extra dimension to communication that you couldn’t get with text alone.

That may be only a start. The growing importance of cameras — of images rather than just text — is altering much about culture. It’s transforming many people’s personal relationships. It’s changing the kind of art and entertainment we produce. You might even credit cameras — or blame them — for our more emotional, and less rational, politics.

Perhaps most consequential, the rising dependence on cameras is changing our language. Other than in face-to-face communication, we used to talk primarily in words. Now, more and more, from GIFs to emoji, selfies to image-macro memes and live video, we talk in pictures.

How does this change culture? In a paper published last year, Oren Soffer, a professor of communications at the Open University of Israel, argued that Snapchat returns us to a time before the printing press, when information was disseminated orally instead of through writing.

and ephemerality. When you talk to others on the service, you usually send them a photo, often of your face. The photo lasts for a few seconds before disappearing. Paradoxically, Professor Soffer said, these features make Snapchat much more like talking than writing.

Snapchat adds other features to deepen this effect. The lenses and filters — ways to make your face look like a dog, for instance — seem juvenile to people who aren’t used to Snapchat. But the moment you pick it up you understand the effect; lenses don’t just add whimsy to your speech, but can perform other functions that approximate face-to-face chatting, too. They can hide your face when you’re not looking your best. They can provide emotional cues: rainbow vomit may mean you’re feeling great, while a black-and-white filter may suggest melancholy.

Yes, Snapchat lets you add text on top of these images, but the pictures are a kind of language by themselves. Gretchen McCulloch, a linguist who is writing a book about how the internet is changing language, said Snapchat lenses and filters were a form of what linguists call “ phatic communication,” which is communication that is meant to ease social interactions instead of to convey information. (For example, saying “hello” and “you’re welcome.”)

“That’s the purpose of the face filters or the geofilters in Snapchat — they provide a fun way to communicate these same kinds of phatic messages with pictures,” Ms. McCulloch said.

The other purpose the filters serve is to create a shared context for communication. When you talk to people in real life, you often do so while engaged in some other activity — you go out to dinner, you take a walk, you play a board game.

“In digital environments, what you talk about is Snapchat’s filters, or sticker collections, or you talk about an interesting GIF,” Ms. McCulloch said. “They’re a shared object to talk about.”

None of this is to suggest writing is going to go away. On the internet, new forms of communication tend to be additive. We won’t replace text with pictures; we add them together to create something new. What’s more, text is still irreplaceable in lots of forms of communication. I could have tried to tell you this story in the form of an image-based Snapchat story, but it would most likely have been unwieldy and not especially informative. If you want to convey a lot of information concisely and accurately, writing is still one of the best methods to use.

“If you’ve ever looked at Ikea instructions, those don’t have any words in them, and they’re notorious for how frustrating they are to use,” Ms. McCulloch said. “Ikea instructions would be a lot nicer if they came with words. So I don’t think words are going anywhere.”

But even if words won’t be replaced by pictures, the rising prominence of picture-based communications systems could still alter society in big ways. Joe Weisenthal of Bloomberg argued in a short essay last year that the raucous 2016 presidential election stemmed in part from what he called our “post-literate” age. In the ancient era of oral communication, the messages that proved most memorable were short and emotionally resonant. Mr. Weisenthal argued that the clipped, image-heavy syntax of social platforms bore a resemblance to that paradigm.

“Complicated, nuanced thoughts that require context don’t play very well on most social platforms, but a resonant hashtag can have extraordinary influence,” he wrote.

No company is enabling and benefiting from the rise of visual communication as thoroughly as Snap. Its strategy doesn’t guarantee its success; there are lots of other companies nibbling on the same megatrend, among them YouTube and Instagram, both of which have huge and growing audiences and deep relationships with advertisers.

Yet alone among social companies, Snap is going all in on the image. And in a world where image is getting to be everything, that’s not a bad bet.

nytimes.com

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From: JakeStraw3/9/2017 1:56:07 PM
   of 45
 
Facebook takes on Snapchat Stories with vanishing daily videos
cnet.com

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To: Glenn Petersen who wrote (7)3/9/2017 9:38:11 PM
From: SI Dmitry (code monkey)
1 Recommendation   of 45
 

Glenn,

Its great to have you back. You were missed.

Regards,

@Dima

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To: SI Dmitry (code monkey) who wrote (9)3/9/2017 9:53:21 PM
From: Glenn Petersen
2 Recommendations   of 45
 
Thanks. I am glad to be back on SI and cataract free.

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From: Glenn Petersen3/11/2017 8:10:04 PM
   of 45
 
Snapchat Pornography to Test Advertisers’ Tolerance for Risk

By SAPNA MAHESHWARI
New York Times
MARCH 10, 2017




Ads can appear between Snapchat’s Stories feature, which has some advertisers worried that their spot could appear before or after pornographic content. Credit Snapchat One of the most powerful advertising-buying firms has been warning its clients about the risks of their corporate marketing inadvertently showing up next to pornography on Snapchat.

GroupM, which ng firms oversees billions of digital-advertising dollars as the media investing arm of the ad giant WPP, recently sent clients a memo about their ads possibly running before or after “explicit adult content” on Snapchat’s Stories feature, if a user chooses to follow such accounts on the app. Stories are a collection of videos and images uploaded by users that disappear after 24 hours.

GroupM sent the memo after hearing from an advertiser last week that was distressed about its ad’s placement either before or after a pornographic image, said Rob Norman, the firm’s chief digital officer. While the ads do not appear on the same screen as the explicit images, Mr. Norman said that GroupM has been advising clients concerned about the issue to stick to Snapchat’s curated news service, Discover, or its filters and selfie lenses.

Snapchat lenses, which people often use to add virtual masks, such as dog ears and the like to their faces, can also be purchased by advertisers, as Taco Bell did to great effect last year with a lens that turned people’s heads into tacos.

This week, however, Mr. Norman said, “A note came to us and said, now we have a situation where one of our lenses we paid for on Snapchat has been appropriated by a porn star, and the porn star has used our lens.”



Advertisers are being advised to work with other features on the app, such as Snapchat’s popular selfie lenses. Credit Snapchat The lens was not used in an explicit manner, but the brand was concerned that it could be, according to Mr. Norman. He added that GroupM has been having similar conversations recently about risks on YouTube and other platforms, noting the management at Snap Inc., the newly public owner of Snapchat, has been “very responsive” to its concerns.

“We work hard to remove explicit content and protect our community and partners,” Snap said in a statement on Friday. “We will continue to invest in improving our tools and processes to ensure a positive Snapchat experience.” The company says it is currently testing an in-app reporting tool in Australia that may help with a variety of guideline violations.


Advertisers have been focused recently on where their content is showing up online, as the rise in user-generated content on social platforms has led to reports of brands inadvertently funding or being associated with terrorism, anti-Semitic sentiments, fake news and, most recently, sexualized images of children on Facebook.

While Snapchat’s guidelines prohibit accounts from using public Stories “to distribute sexually explicit content,” it is not foolproof. The platform is also less mature than some of its rivals in developing tools for policing content, Mr. Norman said.

Snap made almost all of its roughly $400 million in revenue last year from advertising. It has sought to distance itself from Snapchat’s early reputation as an app for “sexting,” a perception it acknowledged in its recent filing to go public.

Despite GroupM’s warning, it is difficult to quantify the risk for brands that their ads will show up near pornography on Snapchat. Ad Age reported this week that it had seen ads for household brands appear before and after Snapchat Stories that include nude videos. On Instagram, a search for the hashtag #snapchat only shows a selection of “top posts” and hides apparently 38 million “recent posts” because of community guideline violations. Reddit has hosted a number of forums devoted to sexual imagery or accounts on Snapchat. These forums often have names like “DirtySnapchat” and “NSFW_Snapchat.” (“N.S.F.W.” meaning “not safe for work.”)

“We now live in an age, having lived through generations of highly curated media like The New York Times and ABC and NBC, to a world of less curated media or not curated media, and advertisers need to learn what their tolerance for risk is,” Mr. Norman said. “If it’s zero, it leads you down a certain path, and if it’s not there, it leads you down a different path.”

The spotlight on social platforms like YouTube and Facebook will not lessen any time soon, Mr. Norman said. He added, “There’s an expectation from advertisers and regulators and consumers that these companies, which are fairly rich in revenue and certainly rich in profile and total number of users, should make it an extremely high investment priority to keep their platforms safe.”

nytimes.com

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To: JakeStraw who wrote (8)3/13/2017 9:19:25 PM
From: Proud Deplorable
   of 45
 
SNAP shares Class A will do a vanishing act of their own until at least Sept.

David Blitzer, managing director of S&P Dow Jones Indices and chair of a committee overseeing its indexes, said they would not add a new stock like Snap for 6 to 12 months after its IPO in any case, and will use the time to study Snap’s structure.

smarteranalyst.com

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From: more1003/28/2017 4:05:39 AM
   of 45
 
I'm predicting a pullback to $23.15 before noon tomorrow $SNAP - Love the company, HATE the stock... so overvalued.

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From: Intelim3/30/2017 4:06:54 PM
   of 45
 
Facebook is taking on Snapchat. This is gonna get ugly.

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From: Glenn Petersen4/1/2017 10:59:00 AM
   of 45
 
How Stories Search makes Snapchat a real-time YouTube

by Josh Constine ( @joshconstine)
TechCrunch
March 31, 2017


Snapchat is shifting from a social network limited to content shared by people you follow to an ephemeral, real-time database of what’s going on now everywhere. Today Snapchat launched Search for Stories submitted to its public Our Stories. It makes Snapchat as deep as whatever the world is sharing, creating near-infinite rabbit holes to go down, and a stronger competitor for YouTube and Twitter.

That aligns exactly with Snap IPO strategy following the slow-down of user growth after the removal of auto-advance and the launch of Instagram Stories and Facebook’s other competing clones: Snapchat wants to be where some people spend tons of engagement time, rather than where everyone spends a little time.

It also sees Snapchat break one of its cardinal rules. User-generated content is no longer limited to a lifespan of 24 hours. A Snapchat spokesperson confirms to TechCrunch that some Snaps submitted to Our Stories that appear in the new Search feature will be visible for less than a day to up to a few weeks or even months.

If content around a theme is being submitted more rapidly, what’s seen in Search results will turn over more quickly, while themes that only get submissions every few days may see Snaps stay visible for longer to make sure there’s something to watch for the theme.

How Snapchat Stories Search works

In January, Snapchat opened the ability to submit to Our Story from people in certain locations, like big events, or at certain times, like Christmas, to everyone everywhere all the time. But this meant it was pulling in way more content than its human curators could package into specific, widely visible Our Stories like ones for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade or the NBA Finals.





Now, Snapchat is using algorithms to scan the caption text, time and visual elements found in Snaps submitted to Our Story and group them by theme. For example, it could pull out Snaps with the words “dog” or “puppy” in captions, or use machine vision to detect the shape of a real dog in the photos or videos, and aggregate them into an Our Story that comes up when people search for “Puppies.” Snap notes you could use this to watch a nearby basketball game, see what’s happening at a local bar, check out a specific Fashion Week runway show or explore a vacation spot. More than 1 million themes will have Search results available.

Snap says it will keep expanding the ways it categorizes submissions. Perhaps that could eventually include what background music is playing or what voices are saying.

The rollout of the feature begins with people in select U.S. cities being able to search for public Our Stories, but everyone’s submissions are already being indexed. For now, no ads, sponsored lenses or sponsored geofilters will appear in the Search collections. That makes this a play for more engagement, not a new channel to drive more ad views.



Snaps submitted to Our Story can appear in Search results for up to months, rather than disappearing after 24 hours like usual

Why Search makes Snapchat endless

Previously, you could think of Snapchat like a television with the Stories of people you follow as different cable channels. Discover and Snapchat Shows were like HBO, offering extra premium content. All you could watch was what these channels aired. If you flipped through all the channels and still weren’t satisfied, you were out of luck.

Search is like having the world’s biggest Blockbuster video rental spot open up next door. Suddenly you can browse a near-endless array of content in all sorts of categories, from popular mainstream releases to weird niche foreign films. New films arrive faster than you can watch them, so there’s always something you haven’t seen available.

For the biggest Snapchat fans, this uncaps their potential engagement time. You can now do around-the-clock movie marathons.



Another analogy is to think of Search as turning Snapchat into the ephemeral, real-time YouTube built for mobile video creation. YouTube indexes the world’s online recorded video content with Google’s search prowess. But often there’s a delay of a few hours to days from when something is recorded to when people upload it. And since YouTube was originally built for the web, the clips are typically longer, from 30 seconds to a few minutes.



That norm subtly discourages short-form, mobile-shot, real-time, off-the-cuff content. And that leaves the door open for Snapchat and its new search feature. Instead of just relying on text descriptions and manually added tags, Snapchat is using machine vision to see what’s actually in content, then categorize and index it. Since it’s all mobile and people submit to Our Story as soon as they’ve shot something, plus it’s curated mostly by algorithms, content should be more quickly searchable.

And because Snaps disappear eventually, even if not just after 24 hours here, it encourages the submission and searchability of raw, unpolished, but still compelling content YouTube isn’t getting.

Finally, you could also see Stories Search as a competitor to Twitter. If you want to read what people are saying around a topic in real time, today you search Twitter. But now if you want to SEE what people are capturing with their cameras around a topic in real time, you can search Snapchat. The camera is the new keyboard, after all.

These ideas support the narrative Snap has been pitching to investors. It can’t sell itself on future user growth and eventual massive scale like Facebook since its growth plummeted late last year around when Instagram Stories launched. Instead, while it only has 158 million daily active users, it repeatedly highlighted that they spend 25-30 minutes a day in Snapchat on average. Search thereby fuels Snapchat’s best hope for growth, not in breadth of users but in the depth of their engagement.

If Snap can’t get everyone on earth using it because Facebook’s slew of Stories competitors steal the international markets and older demographics, then Snap must get the U.S. teens it already has addicted to stick around longer. Search is how.

techcrunch.com

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To: Glenn Petersen who wrote (15)4/12/2017 4:27:16 PM
From: Intelim
   of 45
 
Especially interesting in the light of Facebook rolling out Snapchat of their own.

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