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Snapchat, Wickr, and Frankly: the Boom of "Exploding" Social Media

  +Follow April 1, 2014 1:22PM
Tickers Mentioned:

A common refrain among people in their late 20s/early 30s is “I’m glad social media wasn’t around when I was a kid.” The implication isn’t that as teenagers, they sure wish they’d been less connected to their peers. There’s little doubt that if given a platform to communicate our deepest, most intimate thoughts and feelings, my generation wouldn’t have been using social media to our digital heart’s content.

Rather, why we say that we’re “glad there was no social media when we were kids” is because when it came to our deepest thoughts and feelings, we’re glad there’s no public record of it.

Little surprise then that the two fastest-growing social media apps, Snapchat, Wickr and Frankly, are ephemeral – and their fleeting nature is representative of the way social media is moving. Permanently.

The Way We Were (is Indexed and Searchable)

When speaking about how we communicate digitally, it’s not that we fear a permanent record of any sort. We all like mementos of our past. Rather, we’re very careful about what goes into that record.

This revelation isn’t unique to my age group. Social media’s target demo, teenagers and young adults, recognize the drawback of permanent social media as well. But for the short history of social media, it’s usually been the only option they’ve had.  

From Twitter (TWTR) to Facebook (FB) to MySpace to Friendster to the message boards from the dawn of social media, all have had one thing in common: communication is, by default, permanently saved for posterity.

It’s not that today’s teenagers are narcissists who want their personal lives on display, as they are commonly branded by so many pundits bewildered by the popularity of social media. Rather, it’s the fact that when it comes to digital communication, Twitter and Facebook had been the overwhelming dominant force in social communication. To be sure, both Twitter and Facebook have personal messaging options. But they are far from being the main attraction of the services, both of which carefully log every interaction, direct message or otherwise.

It’s what social media companies who need monetizable content want. But it’s not what consumers want, as evidenced by the exploding popularity of impermanent social media, of messaging services that have the fleeting quality of a conversation between friends, with nary an advertiser to profit off the “content” of a conversation between friends.

Explosive Growth, Explosive Messages

Growth is slowing for both Twitter and Facebook. With Twitter, the culprit is purportedly Twitter’s somewhat jargon-y infrastructure. For Facebook, it’s an inability to break into emerging markets. But in both cases, it’s not just a matter of getting new users. It’s retaining old ones. But in this case, “old” means the young people, the core that is flocking to Snapchat, WIckr and Frankly.

So what are these companies? The “exploding” photo app Snapchat, developed by 24-year-old Evan Spiegel, has been well-covered before, notably for its unique “sent photos disappear after 10 seconds” feature. Dismissed by his teacher as unfeasible when he originally pitched the idea in his USC class, the app has proven to be one of the fastest growing tech properties in history.

The core appeal of it has been copied and expanded upon by new hot entrant Frankly, which substitutes colorful texts and customizable backgrounds in lieu of photos. Otherwise, the premise is the same: the message disappears after 10 seconds. Frankly received $6 million in seed money in December. Upping the ante is Wickr, who also provide exploding text messages, while additionally promising that the messages are encrypted. This selling point reinforces the secrecy consumers crave – after all, Wickr signups popped after Snapchat’s major security breach in January.

It seems antithetical, that social media is becoming less social, but it’s not about being antisocial. It’s about being anti-public.  

Wait, Are You Recording This?

They’re all simple ideas, ones whose clear appeal is impermanence, a social media that assumes it's rude to record personal communication. That is, that social media should more closely resemble a conversation between friends. Albeit it with the advantages and disadvantages of digital space, but without that forced public display of communication that is the hallmark of Twitter and Facebook.

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and others will certainly have their place going forward. But make no mistake – they’re recognizing how things are moving. In March, Instagram introduced a direct message feature, allowing customers to tailor who they shared photos with. It wouldn’t be crazy to assume self-destructing images aren’t far behind.

It’s the kind of social media we wish we could have had as a kid.

DISCLOSURE: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, and do not represent the views of equities.com. Readers should not consider statements made by the author as formal recommendations and should consult their financial advisor before making any investment decisions.

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Results for TWTR
Justin Pulitzer
22 Aug 14 11:49:21
$FB Booom!! New HOD… $TWTR & $LNKD shredding shorts today too. Social Media Ninja Turtles. $SOCL
Max Ganik
22 Aug 14 11:49:15
RT @OMillionaires: $TWTR will be a $50+ stock in short order here - update over the weekend ~ something like this : http://t.co/NkYlSgDA7W …
Edward Dowd
22 Aug 14 11:49:05
@tradingaddicts Long $TWTR cash and options now.
22 Aug 14 11:49:00
selling a little $TWTR here going into weekend, 45.99 (43.02) will def add back on move lower
john c calhoun
22 Aug 14 11:48:50
RT @stockstobuy: Twitter $TWTR just broke three resistance levels this afternoon, now watch $46.30, $47.01, $48
Leilani Pips
22 Aug 14 11:48:46
RT @stockstobuy: Twitter $TWTR just broke three resistance levels this afternoon, now watch $46.30, $47.01, $48
Tushar Ghate
22 Aug 14 11:47:50
$FB may run on sympathy with $twtr . Holding 75 calls for next week
22 Aug 14 11:47:34
Sold 1/2 $TWTR $45.50 calls for $0.45 (+350%)
Stephen Eddinger
22 Aug 14 11:47:28
RT @TheDestinyShow: $TWTR ba boom!
21 of hearts
22 Aug 14 11:47:24
RT @stockstobuy: Twitter $TWTR just broke three resistance levels this afternoon, now watch $46.30, $47.01, $48
22 Aug 14 11:47:07
RT @stockstobuy: Twitter $TWTR just broke three resistance levels this afternoon, now watch $46.30, $47.01, $48
21 of hearts
22 Aug 14 11:46:52
Cmon' $TWTR #cash
Destiny Investments
22 Aug 14 11:46:42
$TWTR ba boom!
22 Aug 14 11:46:26
RT @OMillionaires: $TWTR will be a $50+ stock in short order here - update over the weekend ~ something like this : http://t.co/NkYlSgDA7W …
Steve Loh
22 Aug 14 11:46:16
RT @stockstobuy: Twitter $TWTR just broke three resistance levels this afternoon, now watch $46.30, $47.01, $48
Stocks to Buy
22 Aug 14 11:45:53
Twitter $TWTR just broke three resistance levels this afternoon, now watch $46.30, $47.01, $48
Future Tech Investor
22 Aug 14 11:45:51
buddy madison
22 Aug 14 11:45:43
RT @OMillionaires: $TWTR will be a $50+ stock in short order here - update over the weekend ~ something like this : http://t.co/NkYlSgDA7W …
The Street Mentor
22 Aug 14 11:45:40
Check out our new trading alerts packages now! https://t.co/lkrHFZKUZT $FB $AAPL $TWTR Peeps #srocks #trading #investing
G Hawkins
22 Aug 14 11:45:32
@stockassassin74 $GOOGL should have acquired $TWTR already. Going to regret it if this miss the opportunity again.
22 Aug 14 11:45:28
$TWTR moving
Romeo Alvarez
22 Aug 14 11:45:27
The blue bird is taking off $TWTR
Option Millionaires
22 Aug 14 11:45:21
$TWTR will be a $50+ stock in short order here - update over the weekend ~ something like this : http://t.co/NkYlSgDA7W $FB $LNKD
22 Aug 14 11:45:19
$TWTR with another rip.
Perfor Mance
22 Aug 14 11:45:14
Option Millionaires: jimmybob: Added SEPT $TWTR $50 calls @ .50 http://t.co/BpRi5hJJOg
Max Ganik
22 Aug 14 11:45:07
@InceptionTrader looks like it wants to breakout as long as the $SPY follow. $TWTR going to $48 soon.
22 Aug 14 11:45:07
$TWTR showing strong strength, I'd like to see a break out above $47 -48, consolidate & hold above for a move to $50.
Dave Cox
22 Aug 14 11:45:06
$TWTR went hard through 46.00 then right back down all in 2 seconds
22 Aug 14 11:44:51
$TWTR $46!!
Andreas Wolf
22 Aug 14 11:44:36
@MaxGanik where do you think $TWTR goes next week?
22 Aug 14 11:44:33
$TWTR explosive !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! breaking out big time
22 Aug 14 11:44:28
$twtr bird wants to fly!
22 Aug 14 11:44:17
Commented on StockTwits: $TWTR sweeeet. http://t.co/xs4CrH3fV8
22 Aug 14 11:44:15
social media stocks rocking today $TWTR $YELP $FB $LNKD
22 Aug 14 11:44:05
"@maf1960: $TWTR well -the MM's want $46 + for OPEX Friday!"
22 Aug 14 11:43:35
$TWTR they are setting this free, now $GOOGL please!
22 Aug 14 11:43:29
$JRJC just saw that post on $YHOO - $TWTR really become the biggest platform to influence small/mid-cap https://t.co/23AmaD76Jx
22 Aug 14 11:43:21
RT @beckyhiu: "@FinancialJuice: $TWTR working with Stripe on commerce initative according to Re/code" <- oh? Man, guys @StockTwits have bee…
22 Aug 14 11:43:12
RT @CAMAR024: $TWTR breaking out of the range looks good for 48 test next week
22 Aug 14 11:43:04
$TWTR off to the races!
Andy Lewis
22 Aug 14 11:42:50
$TWTR going
22 Aug 14 11:42:47
Commented on StockTwits: "@EveryTimeICash: Added some bluebird here. $TWTR" Wakey wakey $TWTR http://t.co/ab2MSb46IO
Tablepound Knights
22 Aug 14 11:42:46
RT @gunguy14: Here comes $TWTR.
22 Aug 14 11:42:44
might want to just cover bro RT @ShockExchange: “...Twitter Is Worth $31 - $34 Per Share http://t.co/7v7Ciat9D7 … $TWTR
Domani Capital
22 Aug 14 11:42:41
RT @CapCube: Draghi says ECB must buy $TWTR $Z $YELP and $LNKD to improve economy
Jeff Focker
22 Aug 14 11:42:39
$TWTR finally
CapCube 2.0
22 Aug 14 11:42:34
Draghi says ECB must buy $TWTR $Z $YELP and $LNKD to improve economy
Knights of Wall ST
22 Aug 14 11:41:04
RT @VitaNovaStocks: $TWTR runnn shorty ruunnnnnn!!!!
Ryan Bergdoll
22 Aug 14 11:41:01
RT @zerosum24: $TWTR breakout looks real now. Short-term targets $48 to $50- http://t.co/HjYRhloiAh
Tushar Ghate
22 Aug 14 11:41:00
45.84 and then 48 $twtr
  +Follow April 1, 2014 1:22PM



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