Snapchat stories promotes politics

Catherine Ramirez and

“Je suis Charlie! Je suis Charlie!” These are the chants you hear as you watch a 10-second video of young French adults marching in the Place de la République in France through a Snapchat story.
Snapchat, an app used to share photos and videos in 10 seconds or less, created a “Je Suis Charlie” story in which anyone with the app could view the many photos and videos that streamed in from marchers during the event. Typically, Snapchat stories show major sporting, entertainment and social events, not current political affairs.
However, it’s nice to see the serious change within an app once popularly viewed as the “sexting app” used among teens. It’s definitely a socially conscious movement, leaning towards political involvement within Snapchat. But if the app continues to show more current event stories happening around the world like the march in France, how much more can it be involved in the movement of social media activism?
As powerful as a live feed is, a sequence of 10-second videos or photos shown in these Snapchat stories cannot fully educate the viewer of an event. There’s a reason why Twitter and Facebook were used effectively by Iranian citizens to organize the Iranian election protests in 2009, and then used once again to spark the Arab Spring in 2010. That reason is the ability to discuss and communicate with one another. With discussion, we are able to learn and educate each other. Education and communication have been key components of change since the beginning of social and political movements; something Snapchat stories will forever lack no matter how current or political the story is.
However, the impact Snapchat can have with stories like “Je Suis Charlie” is introducing news-like events to their younger audience who may otherwise not care for current news affairs. The app may never have the same status of political activism that other social media apps have, but it can cause positive change within the youths’ involvement in political issues.  And that, in its own way, is a step towards political activism.