Snapchat’s Digital Narrative is “Real Life”

Snapchat, the reining king of social media (ask any 15 year old), will be launching a digital magazine at the end of June, called Real Life.  Real Life’s aim is to publish daily stories and essays addressing technology, and its uses in modern life.

“It’s fun to call a magazine about the internet “Real Life,” and it’s funny for a minute to say “read my piece in Real Life,” but the name isn’t ironic. It has resonance: REALLIFE Magazine was, in the 1980s, the only downtown New York art magazine that was “by and about artists” but not just for art-world insiders.” – Videodrome

I didn’t expect Snapchat, which was first brought to my attention in 2013, to become as successful as it is today, having more users than its social media predecessors, Twitter and, my personal favourite, Instagram. Snapchat is a free app that anyone can download to their smartphone. Because Snapchat is free to use, it relies on sponsored logo animated filters, to draw-in revenue. According to Money Morning, Snapchat makes 100 million annually, and this number is only expected to grow with added marketing strategies, and a growing stream of dedicated users.

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Real Life will be owned and funded by Snapchat Editor-in-Chief Nathan Jurgenson. However, Jurgenson, a self-proclaimed sociologist, insists that Real Life will be a separate platform from Snapchat, and unlike most tech sites, Real Life will not review the latest tech gadgets, but how our lives are mediated by technology and the politics that go along with using tech devices.

With Snapchat’s high profile, and celebrity user fanbase, I wonder who will supply the tech-related content for the magazine? Certainly not Snapchat’s biggest fan, Kylie Jenner … 

As of late, I’ve noticed the push away from using tech as a “frivolous”social platform, and I think that this digital unravelling is something that app developers, including Jurgenson, fear. The implementation of more “literary” tech sites, like Real Life, which use the “essay” as its format of choice, act as a financial safeguard against social media’s “visual oversharing.”

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