Why do Snapchat and travel make complete sense? Well, truth be told, I would’ve given an indifferent shrug of my shoulders if you asked me that a week ago.
“Snapchat is for youths to send each other dirty pictures,” I thought. “Surely it holds no import to a traveler, such as myself.”
Then I flew to England on a trip focused on experiencing British football. Traveling with me was Clint Johnston of TripHackr, who asked at some point during our travels if I used Snapchat.
“No,” I admitted, recalling that I had actually recently given it a shot, but did not understand its usefulness at all.
Clint proceeded to explain to me why it was actually fun.
Fun? I thought. What the Hell is fun about taking goofy pictures?
Then I realized what a silly question that was in and of itself, because everything is fun about taking goofy pictures. Couple that with the fact that Snapchat is now the third most popular social media network among millennials, it means that goofing off on my phone can now constitute part of my work output.
To be clear, I’d still rather not be on my phone at all when working or traveling. However, that’s not realistic in an age where travel writers (lest they’re of the Anthony Bourdains of the world) need to keep their following constantly abreast in order to continue growing said following. Previously I would’ve dismissed such corporate sounding nonsense, but it turns out that increasing my following allows me new opportunities to travel and tell more stories. Since the latter is pretty much one of the few things I thoroughly enjoy in an increasingly bleak world, I’ve learned to suck it up and tweet when I’d rather just enjoy the damn moment.
Since joining Snapchat and giving an honest effort to understand it, I’ve seen its appeal in terms of following travelers. Previously I’d take a video with my iPhone of a passing street while on a train or car ride, unsure of what to do with it. It wasn’t appropriate for my Instagram nor was it necessarily something I’d want to store on my phone for Twitter.
Still, I find those moments interesting in travel. Quick shots that give viewers a hint of what a destination is like that likely won’t make it to the final story.
Turns out that’s where Snapchat can be useful for travelers. Since joining, I’ve seen shots of the African bush I never would’ve thought to look up. It gives me a quick sense of place beyond the heavily edited photographs that we’ll see published, yet more than the blank canvas I’m personally working with for many corners of the globe.
There’s the very fair critique that there’s currently no way to measure Snapchat’s worth in terms of web traffic. Still, you can see how many people view your various posts within a day. Does that translate to traffic? Who knows. But it does inarguably translate to influence, which is why some brands are starting to give their accounts over to influencers for a day’s worth of posting. It’s why Batman v. Superman is currently all over Snapchat. Just because the film’s producers can’t say for certain whether or not someone viewing the sponsored content will actually go see the movie doesn’t mean it’s not worthwhile on their end.
While I understand the criticism, I’m no longer quick to dismiss something with the reach and popularity of Snapchat.
So yeah, I get it now.
If you want to see the behind-the-scenes of my travel life, (and honestly, I’m fine either way), you can add me at BaurJoe. If you are reading this post from your phone, click here to add me.