Believe it or not, I actually remember when Snapchat was first introduced. I was a senior in high school, and everyone was talking about the disappearing photos. TBH, I didn't really get the hype, but I downloaded it because #FOMO, and I was quickly hooked. My love for Snapchat only deepened when they introduced Stories, but now — like most other people — I take Stories for granted, because we have them on other platforms (like Instagram). But the company is reportedly working on expanding Stories with "Stories Everywhere," allowing for a whole new kind of sharing. So what is Snapchat's "Stories Everywhere" feature? It just might put Snapchat back at the top of the Stories totem pole.
According to Cheddar, Snap Inc. recently made some new hires that indicate where "Stories Everywhere" could be going. The project is being led by Rahul Chopra, the former Senior Vice President and Global Head of Video at News Corp, who was also CEO of News Corp’s social data agency, Storyful. Storyful, Stories... ahhh, it's all starting to come together. Apparently, Chopra will use his story skills to help Snapchat in this next phase of Stories, which will allow them to be shared on other platforms.
But this isn't your average "save to camera roll and repost at a slightly reduced quality" cross-platform sharing. "Stories Everywhere" would be much, much bigger. With this initiative, Snap Inc. may create "a web player that also prompts people to sign up and download the app," which would make it easier to share Snapchat content on other platforms. Cheddar also reports that the company is considering allowing other apps to access its user-generated video feeds, particularly for breaking news or sporting events. Similar to the way that tweets can be embedded into online content, this capability would allow Snapchat content to be shared within blog posts, news stories, and other online content.
So this all sounds pretty cool, but why? Since its beginnings as an intimate platform for one-on-one photo communications, Snapchat has prided itself on innovating by its own rules. But a lot has changed in the last five years: Not only have Snapchat's actual capabilities changed (shout out to dog filter and Snapchat groups), its reputation has also changed, and bigger companies have jumped on the features it introduced and improved them. The app has also become a hub for news and creative content, and reaches 178 million users every day. By expanding into the content distribution space, Snapchat could see the growth that it has been missing over the last couple of years, as well as generate revenue via content licensing.
The company's goals are more clearly outlined in a memo distributed by Snap Inc. VP Nick Bell. According to the memo, the company's 2018 goals are to "increase the overall output of content in the redesigned Discover feed, widen content distribution, and double-down on news."
These changes have little do with users' day-to-day interactions that take place on the app, but they could affect how users' interact with Discover content and public stories, and how users and non-users perceive the app. Currently, the Discover feed is a bonus feature of Snapchat (at least among people I know). But with the power to share content from the Discover feed, it could become a main feature, and Snapchat could become a more trusted news source — similar to the way both normal tweets and Twitter Moments are often cited as sources of breaking news.
Snapchat wrapped up this year with 2017 Memories Stories, serving users a curated highlight reel of their best Snapchats, taken from their Memories folders. The company also recently introduced a desktop app allowing users to create their own 3D "World Lenses," à la the old favorite dancing hot dog.
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