Snap to Attention: Social Media IPO puts a Face on Snapchat

On March 6, after coming out of the blocks fast and furious, Snap (parent company of Snapchat) saw a drop in share value close to 12 percent off of its initial public offering price. According to USA TODAY, the drop probably meant that people who didn’t buy at the pre-trading price of $17 might be sitting on a loss.

However, investor appetite for technology-savvy companies with huge followings remains strong. Snapchat has a demonstrable client base, and its ability to market to young people has kept the social media giant growing. However, we all know that when something’s hot, it can be quickly damaged by internal or external problems (take Uber, for example). This may result in negative publicity or even loss of market share.

According to Meghan Hamm, digital strategist for Hirons, Snapchat is still geared for, and used by, a younger crowd. “Snapchat filters are a good way for companies and nonprofits to use the digital platform to highlight activities at a specific event or travel destination such as a zoo, ballpark or even a mall,” she said.

But is that enough? Is Snapchat this decade’s hot-then-not company? Regardless, it can take comfort in knowing that many has-beens still have shelf life.

Many people found it humorous when former Indiana governor and now Vice President Mike Pence was reported to still have an America Online (AOL) account. I mean, how old is that! I confess that my family still has an AOL account that I started sometime around 1994, not that it gets much use. But hey, some things stand the test of time!

What will be the next version of Snapchat? Certainly, more networking platforms will be developed and deployed and we will have more, not fewer, options to have a digital dialogue.

In 2015, a Fox News story warned readers not to assume that Snapchat is a safe way to send suggestive photographs. It explained that screenshots are easy to capture before an image is deleted and, indeed, some risqué photographs have landed people in seriously hot water.

So, what is behind the popularity of Snapchat, Facebook and Twitter? For people like President Trump, they are ways to bypass the media and go directly to the citizenry. For others, they allow communication with masses that was not possible 10 years ago.

In general, people want to feel connected and part of a larger community. This is easily accomplished through instantaneous social media platforms. YouTube has exploded as hundreds of thousands of videos are posted each week. Content runs the gamut, from hysterical cat footage to a highly produced corporate video, but most have audiences of some kind.

Snapchat is certainly popular with my two teenage daughters, and I doubt that will change any time soon. I guess they fit its demographics and target audience.

We’ve come a long way from rotary dial telephones and my Commodore 64 computer. Nevertheless, I think we’ll be keeping our AOL account in case the vice president reaches out.

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