The merits of Snapchat for Storytellers

What can Snapchat offer you as a storyteller? This was another topic of huge interest at RTE's Mojocon event in Galway from 4th to 6th May 2017.  The discussion not only looked at how Snapchat can help you tell stories but also how Snapchat can stay relevant admist other social network. 

Stories, the collections of vertical photos and videos usually shared for 24 hours, originated on Snapchat, but the format can now be found on Instagram, Facebook, Messenger and even WhatsApp.

Nusaiba Mubarak, engagement producer, TRT World, speaking at Mojocon told us that, 'people are increasingly expressing themselves visually, and these visual statuses are currently changing the way they are communicating online.  People's attention is scarce – the human attention span is eight seconds, shorther than that of a goldfish (nine seconds), she explained. But heavy social media users and new technology adopters have more frequent bursts of higher attention'.

Not just social media

Sumaiya Omar, a social media consultant and founder of Hashtag OurStories,  who was also speaking at the event said that 'Using mobile journalism to produce content in this format can be an opportunity for publishers. But as journalists can now create vertical stories for their more established and, in most cases, larger audiences on Instagram, what value can Snapchat still bring to the table?

In response to this Sumaiya believes that Snapchat is a tool 'speficially designed for stortytelling' and what set Snapchat apart is 'Live Stories, a curation feature based on users' locations that enables Snapchat to aggregate views and opinions around a breaking news event faster than traditional media organisations can deploy a camera crew. 

With Live Stories, Snapchat has also understood the power of harnessing its community of users. By doing this Snapchat has realised 'that storytelling as a collective is far more effective'

Snapchat can also be a useful tool for interviewing sources and for presenting a range of voices in a news report. People who would otherwise be unwilling to talk to journalists might be more open to being interviewed for a Snapchat Story, as the technology involved, an every day smartphone, and the app, are more familiar to them.

Snap’s app and Spectacles are an opportunity for journalists to become better storytellers. Snapchat's limitations in length force reporters to format their stories differently, and Spectacles can help solve the dilemma of filming landscape or vertical.

Omar suggested the following workflow: filming with Snapchat Spectacles; importing the video and making it vertical in Instagram Stories; adding titles in clips and then uploading to Facebook.

She concluded by saying that you should always start with the best content creation tool and right now she feels that is Snapchat - “ look past the gimmicks and use it for what it’s great at.”

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