Social media

Snapchat 'Stories' give you 24 hours to see someone else's life

Oct. 3, 2013 at 3:19 PM ET

Snapchat
Snapchat
Snapchat Stories menu.

A Snapchat message — like your life — is fleeting, existing for the briefest moment in time before vanishing, and in most cases, quickly forgotten. 

While you can't do much about the life thing — other than eating right, exercising and looking both ways before you cross the street — Snapchat just added 24 hours to its own unbearable lightness of being with "Stories." The new feature allows Snapchat users to string together the photos, videos, sexts, whatever, into messages that last an entire day before they disappear from the recipient's cellphone. 

This may seem counter-intuitive for those who mostly know Snapchat as the app that self-destructs the message 10 seconds after its received, but ... well, yeah. It is. If you're into watching the weird ways people find to fit technology into their life however, this could get interesting. 

The new feature is as simple as it is similar to the 10-second single serving, but allows you to share your day's recorded adventures all at once, while affording your friends a full day to savor the life you're living. You have the option of saving single photos or video into a labeled folder, and use your contact list to choose multiple recipients, whose names are checked off with an "eye" icon after they've viewed your story. They then have a full 24 hours to savor the life you're living before this particular narrative is, like the images it contains, just a memory. 

"Playing with Stories is the best way to understand it," notes the Stories introduction on the Snapchat blog, which is a far more enticing proposition than the accompanying video that attempts to illustrate its appeal. 

A group of attractive young men and women are seen spending the day driving and hanging around in what appears to be the Los Angeles River culvert — that concrete sewer road where movie chase scenes are filmed. Their day of cavorting is then condensed into a set of pictures made radiant with Keith Haring-like doodles, creating a Snapchat Story that can't disappear fast enough. 

The potential is far more interesting than anything shown. Photos can be added to folders, updating your day for your recipients, as the older images disappear. Think of it as a self-destructing day of Facebook posts, more likely to grab the attention of others because of the direct delivery, yet less likely to haunt your future because of the limited lifespan. 

Helen A.S. Popkin is goes "blah blah blah" about the Internet. Tell her to get a real job on Twitter and/or Facebook.

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