Commentary

The Selfie-Porn Platform Way Of Living

There has been a pretty lively debate about whether the founders of Snapchat were idiots for turning down an all-cash $3 billion takeover offer from Facebook. After all, the company hasn't recorded a dime of revenue (yet) and seems to be the selfie-porn platform of choice for teenage America. Is there a future in that?

For the older, uninformed and totally uncool demo reader, Snapchat delivers mobile photos for which users can set a time limit of 1 to 10 seconds for viewability; thereafter, the pix disappear forever from the recipients' phone -- and allegedly, even from Snapchat's servers.

I will leave it to others to decide if,  at the end of the day, selling and serving one video or photo advertisement in every 20-30 snaps or directly selling virtual goods like emoticons or copyrighted characters will 1) raise enough money to warrant an even larger valuation; and/or 2) won't piss off the unpredictably fickle teen market, which has already begun to hit the exit doors of Facebook, yesterday's digital darling.

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What I like is the concept of content irrevocably disappearing after five or six seconds. After all, that is now the normal attention span of the digerati. And frankly, given the overabundance of digitized information, no one has time to focus on anything  longer than a few seconds. If content producers took a page from Snapchat and limited their output to what could only be consumed in five or seven seconds, think how much better the world would be.

Instead of having all those personalities recite the entire Gettysburg address (and who, after all, wants to hear it more than once every 150 years, anyway?) Ken Burns could cut them off at somewhere around "Four score and seven years ago, our fathers...." And instead of having to watch the Zapruder film until Kennedy clutches his throat, we get to stop at excited, happy people smiling and waving at the motorcade.  Or we see the Hindenburg gracefully slipping toward the landing tower and never hear the word "humanity."

Of course, lots of sites take advantage of this attention-span deficit now by headlining lists of things you will want to read or see, then showing them one after another to up their page views, serve more ads and invite you to put a gun to your temple.

But think of the benefit to society of forcing folks who call themselves communicators to actually have to articulate  with enough clarity so you actually understand what is being sold within five seconds. No more room for voodoo modifiers and superficial superlatives;just the facts, ma'm. No more "tarmac leads" to news stories: "It was a clear, sunny day with a brisk wind when Air Force One touched down on the tarmac at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport...."

Best of all, we will all have a built-in excuse for not having seen something that some moron at the company with too much time on his hands (you know who you are) circulated to the staff under the heading "Interesting Story." On the other hand, you can safely say you saw everything, because you can save your Ritalin for exams and look at 3,000 stories a day.

Dinner party conversations will no longer be dominated by the bloviations of the few who think they know it all, because all they will know is about five seconds worth. "Let ME tell you about Obamacare..." (on to next topic: Who can't wait for the movie of ‘50 Shades of Grey’?).

Come to think of it, we already live in a Snapchat world. It's just that, sadly, we aren't the ones getting the selfie porn shots.

7 comments about "The Selfie-Porn Platform Way Of Living ".
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  1. Robert Payne from 7Search.com, November 22, 2013 at 9:26 a.m.

    At first, I thought the founders of Snapchat were trying to hold out for more money. Now I think these guys may have realize they have something that Facebook may fear. Youth. Snapchat maybe the Facebook of tomorrow. Wonder when the movie will come out.

  2. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, November 22, 2013 at 9:30 a.m.

    They are called selfishness.

  3. Albert Maruggi from Give It A Think, November 22, 2013 at 9:48 a.m.

    people your logic about youth is flawed. The don't have youth, they have a time period. Teens are not the market, the market is this generation of teens at this period of time. These were the teens that Facebook thought they had, http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-57610113-93/facebook-fesses-up-young-teens-are-getting-bored/

    and the same will hold true for Snapchat, today's teens will out grow it because they have college and work to go to, and the teens of the next decade will want their own platform, just like they want their own "Hannah Montana" The product lifecycle is an eye blink.

  4. George Simpson from George H. Simpson Communications, November 22, 2013 at 12:15 p.m.

    Albert: I think you are right and said as much at the Facebook IPO:
    http://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/175009/why-facebook-could-disappear.html

  5. Mike Einstein from the Brothers Einstein, November 22, 2013 at 3:45 p.m.

    The whole idea is truly frightening.

  6. Len Stein from Visibility Public Relations, November 22, 2013 at 4:53 p.m.

    hey, I read the whole thing...when's the movie?

  7. Massimo Mobilito from Viewthrough Measurement Consortium, November 29, 2013 at 1:39 p.m.

    Yeah, sure it expires...NSA/Carnivore will love this. Say thanks for your gubment sponsored Internets.

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