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“What do they snapchat about?” Patterns of use in time-limited instant messaging service


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Abstract The use of Snapchat – a time-limited instant messaging service – has been rapidly rising amongst adolescents. However, the exact nature of Snapchat use remains difficult to examine due to the self-destructive nature of content sent and received via this service. We report an online survey conducted with the use of a memory sampling method to enquire about the specific details of the very last image or video each participant sent and received via Snapchat. We found that users mainly share ‘selfies’, typically embed text and ‘doodles’ with photos they share, use it mostly at home, and primarily for communication with close friends and family as an ‘easier and funnier’ alternative to other instant messaging services. We also found that high intensity of Snapchat use was more associated with bonding rather than bridging social capital. We discuss those findings in the context of existing studies on the use of instant messaging services and social networking sites.
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Full length article
What do they snapchat about? Patterns of use in time-limited
instant messaging service
Lukasz Piwek
, Adam Joinson
University of the West of England, Centre for the Study of Behaviour Change and Inuence, Bristol, UK
article info
Article history:
Received 15 April 2015
Received in revised form
11 July 2015
Accepted 23 August 2015
Available online xxx
Instant messaging (IM)
Social network sites
Critical incidence technique
Social capital
The use of Snapchat e a time-limited instant messaging service e has been rapidly rising amongst ad-
olescents. However, the exact nature of Snapchat use remains difcult to examine due to the self-
destructive nature of content sent and received via this service. We report an online survey conducted
with the use of a memory sampling method to enquire about the specic details of the very last image or
video each participant sent and received via Snapchat. We found that users mainly share seles, typi-
cally embed text and doodles with photos they share, use it mostly at home, and primarily for
communication with close friends and family as an easier and funnier alternative to other instant
messaging services. We also found that high intensity of Snapchat use was more associated with bonding
rather than bridging social capital. We discuss those ndings in the context of existing studies on the use
of instant messaging servic es and social networking sites.
© 2015 Elsevier Ltd All rights reserved.
1. Introduction
Instant messaging (IM) has become an ubiquitous feature of
rapid communication in the Global Village with the fast adoption
of internet-enabled mobile phones at the beginning of the 21st
century. IM is a type of online chat which offers real-time exchange
of text, images, video and voice transmission over the Internet, but
it is also used for exchanging emotions via emoticons, information
provision, behaviour change interventions and surveying (Cole-
Lewis & Kershaw, 2010; Hawn, 2009; Ramirez & Broneck, 2009;
Ogara, Koh, & Prybutok, 2014). In 2014 there were reportedly 50
billion IM sent per day e twice as many as conventional text
messages (Curtis, 2014) and it is estimated that IM apps will ac-
count for 75% of mobile trafcby2018(Juniper Research, 2014). IM
capability has been also integrated into almost every major social
networking site with smartphone app services such as Facebook
Messenger, Twitter, Googleþ or LinkedIn. There are also a large
number of popular, standalone IM mobile services such as What-
sApp, Skype,orInstagram.
In the majority of existing IM services listed above, the content
that users exchange is stored on both senders' and receivers
devices creating a communication history, with the exception being
a real-time, streaming voice and video chat communication service
such as Skype. However, a new category of IM has recently risen to
prominence e Snapchat ( What makes
Snapchat stand out from other IM services is that the content users
share only persists for a limited period of time.
1.1. The overview of snapchat
The rise in Snapchat use has been one of the most rapid and
unprecedented in the history of instant messaging services and
social networking sites. Its estimated that Snapchat's base of active
users grew from 10 million in mid-2012 to over 70 million in early
2014, and 100 million in early 2015 (according to Wall Street Journal
evaluation e Snapchat doesn't reveal its numbers; Macmillan &
Rusli, 2014; Wohlsen, 2015). In December 2013 more than 400
million snaps (the common term for video messages and photos
send via Snapchat) were received on Snapchat every day (Shontell,
2013). By comparison, it takes Facebook and Instagram combined to
match the same number of photos shared in the same period.
reportedly rejected an acquisition offer worth $3 billion
from Facebook (Rusli & Macmillan, 2013) and was valued to be
worth $10 billion by two independent companies in August 2014
(Rusli & Macmillan, 2014), and $19 billion in early 2015 (Wohlsen,
* Corresponding author. University of the West of England, Coldharbour Lane,
BS16 1QY, Bristol, UK.
E-mail address: (L. Piwek).
Contents lists available at ScienceDirect
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journal homepage:
0747-5632/© 2015 Elsevier Ltd All rights reserved.
Computers in Human Behavior 54 (2016) 358e367
The process of sharing on Snapchat works as follows: the sender
makes an image/video using the Snapchat smartphone app and
then choose how long the image/video will be viewable by the
receivers' device (between 1 and 10 s, as of April 2015). Sequences
of images/videos can also be sent. When the sender posts an image/
video to the receiver, this image/video automatically vanishes from
the senders' smartphone. The only information that persists on the
senders' device is a timestamp of when the snap was send. The
receiver now has an option to view the content but the viewing
time is limited to the specic duration chosen by the sender (i.e.
between 1 and 10 s). After the receiver views the image/video for
this particular duration, the image/video disappears from the re-
ceivers phone.
There are a number of additional features that make Snapchat a
unique IM service. Snapchat is exclusively a smartphone app
(available on Apple iOS and Google Android enabled devices) and
therefore it is not possible to use it with the browser (unlike Twitter
or Facebook Messenger). Any image/video is only shared with the
friend, or a group of friends, selected by the sender and those
friends have to be a Snapchat users. This way the sender always
decides who is going to receive and view the content. If the receiver
makes a screen capture of the image, the sender is notied about
this action. Additionally, the recipient must maintain tactile contact
with the device's touchscreen, thereby hindering their ability to
take a screenshot or use an external camera. However, it has been
widely reported that third-party apps such as Snapsaved allow the
receiver to make a hidden screen capture of snap without sender
being aware of this (Cook, 2014b). Snapchat users can also embed
32 characters-long text messages, or create a nger-drawn doo-
dles, layered on the top of the photos they capture. Video chat is
also possible: users see a pulsating blue bubble that indicates
whether their friend is active in Snapchat, and can engage in video
1.2. Snapchat use, privacy and social capital
Beside the effortless and easy-to-use interface design of Snap-
chat, the most unique features relate to the personal sharing of
content that disappears after specied period (you choose specic
person/group of people to share it, rather than share with a large
group of people or publicly by default). Informal media reports
suggest that the self-destructive nature of messages may remove
some inhibition from users who would otherwise not share such
content. It's been widely reported in social media and market
analysis that Snapchat is particularly popular amongst children and
teenagers, with half of the users aged between 13 and 17 (Statista,
2014). At the same time, there are informal reports that Snapchat
may be frequently used for
sexting (the act of text messaging
someone in the hopes of having a sexual encounter with them
later; with initially casual content transitioning into highly sug-
gestive and even sexually explicit content e UrbanDictionary,
c2008). Some market research conducted in the UK supports
these claims: half of all 18 to 30-year-old respondents reported
receiving nude pictures, while 67% had received images of inap-
propriate poses or gestures (Kemp, 2013). This issue has been
broadly discussed in the context of online security and privacy in
the media, especially with reference to the incident in October 2014
e a major privacy breach where 100,000 snaps were published
online allegedly by hackers who compromised Snapsaved servers
(Buchanan, 2014). This event has been termed the Snappening.
was widely reported that a signicant proportion of leaked snaps
were explicit in nature (Cook, 2014a) and due to the young Snapchat
demographics there were concerns that the stolen photos would
include indecent images of children.
However, a single study to date that examined privacy issues
with Snapchat use contradicts the assumption that adult Snapchat
users engage in risky and explicit sharing. Roesner, Gill, and Kohno
(2014) surveyed 127 adult Snapchat users and found that most
users reported that they did not send sensitive content (although
25% reported they might do so experimentally). Specically, they
found that the majority of users were not willing to send content
classied as sexting, photos of documents, messages containing
legally questionable content, or content considered insulting.
Additionally, researchers found that security was not a major
concern for the majority of respondents e most of the users un-
derstood that the messages could be recovered and that screenshot
taking was a common and expected practice Roesner et al. (2014).
The issues of privacy and online sharing lead to another
important question e what is the nature and role of Snapchat use in
facilitating social interactions and networking? One of the major
impacts of emerging social networking sites and digital commu-
nication technologies is their function as a social lubricant e
facilitating the building of social capital between users (Lee, Kim, &
Ahn, 2014; Steineld, Ellison, & Lampe, 2008). Social capital has
been dened as the connections and the associated norms of
reciprocity among people (Putnam, 2001). Putnam distinguished
between two types of social capital: bonding and bridging. Bonding
social capital refers to strong-tie relationships such as family,
partners and close friends, where people share strong personal, or
intimate, connections and provide emotional support to each other.
On the other hand, bridging social capital refers to weak-tie re-
lationships such as previous coworkers or former classmates,
where people don't share a similar background or emotional reci-
procity. Previous research has shown that all kinds of social capital
yields positive outcomes such as self-esteem, life satisfaction, and
even health (Ellison, Steineld, & Lampe, 2007; Kim, Subramanian,
Gortmaker, & Kawachi, 2006; Valenzuela, Park, & Kee, 2009
Social capital has been extensively examined in the online
context especially with the use of social networking sites (SNS),
particularly Facebook. A large number of studies on Facebook have
found a strong association between the use of Facebook and social
capital, especially for the creation and maintenance of bridging
social capital (Ellison et al., 2007, Ellison, Vitak, Gray, Lampe, 2014b;
Vitak, Ellison, & Steineld, 2011). For instance, it has been estab-
lished that high frequency and duration of use of Facebook, high
routine access and high emotional connectedness to Facebook is
strongly associated with social capital (Ellison et al., 2007). Social
capital has been also examined in the context of SNS connection
strategies (Ellison et al., 2014b) and the frequency of features use on
Facebook (Lee et al., 2014). For instance, Lee et al. (2014) found a
strong association between the frequency of using features such as
Wall Posts, Comments, Messages and Status Updates with both
bonding and bridging social capital.
While Snapchat has rapidly risen to popularity since 2012
(Duggan, 2013) the exact nature of its use is still unknown, and its
also not clear how this use is associated with bridging and bonding
of social capital. The study by Roesner et al. (2014) mainly focused
on perceived privacy and security amongst Snapchat users:
whether users send sensitive content, how aware are they of the
security drawbacks of Snapchat, how frequently they make and
accept the making of screenshots. Utz, Muscanell, and Khalid (2015)
compared Snapchat and Facebook use in the context of romantic
jealousy, and showed that Snapchat was used more for irting and
Term Snappening comes from combination of words snap and happening,in
reference to an event that happened shortly before in August 2014 e the Fap-
pening (combination of fap e the onomatopoeic term for masturbation, and
happening) where a large number of nude celebrities photos and videos leaked to (Kosur, 2014).
L. Piwek, A. Joinson / Computers in Human Behavior 54 (2016) 358e367 359
nding new love interests, whereas Facebook was still the main
social networking site used for keeping in touch with friends. The
only other available publications are informal blogs, online maga-
zines stories and market analysis reports. There is a paucity of
details such as specic patterns of Snapchat use, reasons for Snap-
chat use, the context in which people use it and the frequency of use
or type of content users share. No other research has so far been
conducted on Snapchat use, although there are extensive studies on
the use of other popular social networking sites and instant
messaging services. Therefore, the primary aim of the study
described in this article was to examine how people use Snapchat,
what content they tend to share, what they use it for, with whom,
how frequently, and what value it presents for them. A primary
objective was to gain a better understanding of what content
people send specically, why they send it, and what they mainly
use Snapchat for. Our secondary objective was to examine how
Snapchat use is associated with bridging or bonding social capital,
following an approach similar to one used by (Ellison et al., 2007,
Ellison, Gray, Lampe, Fiore, 2014a) with Facebook. To this end we
conducted an exploratory survey to examine patterns of Snapchat
use by employing elements of a memory retrieval method taken
from a qualitative Critical Incidence Technique. We then conducted
a follow-up survey where we looked at the association between the
intensity of Snapchat use with a range of other factors, and bonding
and bridging of social capital.
2. Methods
2.1. Participants
We used a short invitation e-mailed to 2194 rst-year students
at the University of the West of England (UWE). The e-mails were
provided to us with the permission of both Student Services and
Business Intelligence and Planning at UWE and were distributed
directly via Qualitrics Research Suite system (Qualtrics, c2013)
preserving full participants' anonymity. We used only rst-year
students due to UWE regulations regarding the survey distribu-
tion and also because existing market research point to a large
proportion of Snapchat users amongst young age groups (Statista,
2014). A total of 209 participants (139 female and 70 male)
agreed to participate in an online survey. The only requirement for
participation in the survey was that the person is, or was, a Snap-
chat user. The study received ethical approval from the University
Ethics Review Board.
2.2. Measures for the exploratory survey and critical incidence
The survey was constructed using the Qualtrics Research Suite
(Qualtrics, c2013) and took approximately 10 min to complete. Each
participant was presented with a brief instruction on the purpose of
the study and the approximate time needed for completion. Par-
ticipants were informed that the information they provided would
be secured under the Data Protection Act 1998. Participants were
asked to conrm that they understood the instructions by ticking a
box before they started the survey. The survey incorporated both
open-ended and closed-ended questions with mixed-type
response scales and was split into two parts: (1) general socio-
demographic questions and general information about the use of
Snapchat and other SNS/IM platforms, and (2) a memory retrieval
task for the last snap sent and received.
Demographics and the general use of Snapchat and SNS. General
sociodemographic data was collected on: gender, age, ethnicity,
marital status, sexual orientation, employment status, whether
participants were students or not, highest education level, country
of residence, and location/area of residence. General questions
about the use of Snapchat and other SNS included four items which
questioned participants about: (1) the reason they started using
Snapchat, (2) how many people they actively interacted with on
Snapchat, (3) whether they used other SNS to share photos/videos
and (4) how frequently they used various IM or chat services on
their smartphone.
Critical Incidence Technique. One of the major challenges of
conducting a study on Snapchat is the transient nature of any
content generated or received on the platform. In studies investi-
gating the digital traces of human behaviour on social networking
sites, such as photos or likes on Facebook (Kosinski, Stillwell, &
Graepel, 2013; Lambiotte & Kosinski, 2015), the content is present
in the recorded history of the user's prole, with visibility varying
only based on the privacy setting. However, there are no such
digital traces for Snapchat, except from a timestamp with the in-
formation on when the snap was sent/received. In such cases it is
only possible to employ introspective methods which have obvious
shortcomings: users can be biased, they may not remember clearly,
or they can omit important content. In order to maximise the
possibility of capturing a representative sample of Snapchat expe-
riences' we utilised elements of Critical Incidence Technique (CIT;
Flanagan, 1954) as a part of the online survey questionnaire. First
described by John C. Flanagan in 1954, CIT is a well-established
qualitative research tool used in the elds of health science, edu-
cation and market research. Critical incidents can be gathered in
various ways, but typically respondents are asked to tell a story
about an experience they have had. The key idea is that the ob-
servations collected from participants should be recorded as close
as possible to the time when they occurred, which improves
memory retrieval. The recollection should also be structured to
provide better contextual layout to the event e memory is
improved if the observers know in advance that they will need to
report (FitzGerald, Seale, Kerins, & McElvaney, 2008).
Application of CIT was ideal in our study because we didn't have
direct access to content that participants shared and we were not
certain what factors were important in the use of Snapchat. At the
same time it was easy to isolate a single incidence of Snapchat use
as a recollection of the last snap that was sent and received. This
approach was especially relevant because the only digital trace
that is left on a user's smartphone is a timestamp of their recent
communication. Therefore, we used a set of questions to enquire
about participants' memories of the last snap image/video they
sent and received. This set of questions was designed following the
guidelines from Flanagan (1954) and FitzGerald et al. (2008) to
facilitate a detailed memory retrieval of the last snap incidence.
Snapchat memory retrieval task started with the following
question: do you have access to your Snapchat app at the moment?
If participants replied no to this question, they were asked to give a
rough estimate of the date when they sent the last snap (day,
month and year). If they replied yes, they were asked to open the
Snapchat app, look at the interaction history, and record the exact
date (day, month, year) and time (hour, minute) when the last snap
was sent. This task therefore also aimed to create a better anchor
for memory retrieval for the last snap sent (Flanagan, 1954;
Gremler, 2004).
After participants recorded a timestamp (or estimate of when
they sent the last snap), they were asked a number of questions
about the last Snapchat they've send. Questions related to ve
different description categories: time of sending the snap; the
content of the snap (whether it was photo or video, what was on
the snap, whether they doodled on it, whether it was a reply to
another snap, and whether they made a screenshot of the received
snap); the reason for sending the snap; participants' location when
they sent the snap; and socially-related factors (whether they sent
L. Piwek, A. Joinson / Computers in Human Behavior 54 (2016) 358e367360
it to single person or a group of people, who this were specically,
what their mood was when they sent it, and whether they had been
drinking alcohol when they sent it). The open-ended responses
obtained with CIT were classied by two separate judges and
was used to calculate agreement amongst the judges.
result for inter-rater reliability are provided with each
gure that corresponds to the relevant items.
2.3. Measures for the follow up survey on social capital
After obtaining the initial results, we decided to examine how
our participants used Snapchat to build bridging and bonding social
capital. We contacted 209 participants who completed the rst part
of the survey and asked them to participate in a short, 5 min follow-
up survey. A total of 96 participants completed the follow up survey
(67 female, 30 male). The follow up survey included following three
scales: (1) Snapchat use Intensity, (2) Bridging (3) and Bonding
social capital on Snapchat. We also asked participants how much
time on average they spend every day using the internet and
The Snapchat Use Intensity scale was adopted from Ellison et al.
(2007) Facebook Use Intensity Scale to obtain a better measure-
ment of Snapchat use than frequency or duration indices. The
Ellison et al. (2007) Facebook Use Intensity Scale has a broad scope
of questions that are easily generalised to any other social network
e which is why we decided to apply it with Snapchat. This measure
included two self-reported assessments of Snapchat behaviour,
designed to measure the extent to which the participant was
actively engaged in Snapchat activities: (1) the number of Snapchat
friends and (2) the amount of time spent on Snapchat in a typical
day. In addition, the measure also included a series of Likert-scale
attitudinal questions designed to examine the extent to which
the participant was emotionally connected to Snapchat and the
extent to which Snapchat was integrated into their daily activities.
Those remaining questions included the following items: (3)
Snapchat is part of my everyday activity; (4) I am proud to tell
people I'm on Snapchat; (5) Snapchat has become part of my daily
routine; (6) I feel out of touch when I havent logged onto Snapchat
for a while; (7) I feel I am part of the Snapchat community; and (8) I
would be sorry if Snapchat shut down. The eight-item index was
found to be reliable (Cronbach
¼ 0.89) and descriptive results for
this scale are summarised in Supplementary Table 4.
Bonding and Bridging social capital with Snapchat was measured
using a 10-item scales adapted from Williams (2006). We chose this
particular scale because of its broad and generic nature. Addition-
ally, a large number of studies adapted Williams (2006) scale to
examine social capital on Facebook (e.g. Brooks, Hogan, Ellison,
Lampe, & Vitak, 2014; Ellison et al., 2014a), WhatsApp (Aharony,
2015), and Twitter (Hofer & Aubert, 2013).
Items for Bonding social capital with Snapchat asked respondents
to rate, on a ve-point Likert scale, the extent to which they agreed
or disagreed with the following statements: (1) There are several
people on Snapchat I trust to help solve my problems; (2) There is
someone on Snapchat I can turn to for advice about making very
important decisions; (3) There is no one on Snapchat that I feel
comfortable talking to about intimate personal problems; (4) When
I feel lonely, there are several people on Snapchat I can talk to; (5) If
I needed an emergency loan of £50 0, I know someone on Snapchat I
can turn to; (6) The people I interact with on Snapchat would put
their reputation on the line for me; (7) The people I interact with on
Snapchat would be good job references for me; (8) The people I
interact with on Snapchat would share their last dollar with me; (9)
I do not know people on Snapchat well enough to get them to do
anything important; and (10) The people I interact with on Snap-
chat would help me ght an injustice. The ten-item index was
found to be reliable (Cronbach
¼ 0.86) and descriptive results for
this scale are summarised in Supplementary Table 4.
Items for Bridging social capital with Snapchat asked respondents
to rate, on a ve-point Likert scale, the extent to which they agreed
or disagreed with the following statements: (1) Interacting with
people on Snapchat makes me interested in things that happen
outside of my town; (2) Interacting with people on Snapchat makes
me want to try new things; (3) Interacting with people on Snapchat
makes me interested in what people unlike me are thinking; (4)
Talking with people on Snapchat makes me curious about other
places in the world; (5) Interacting with people on Snapchat makes
me feel like part of a larger community; (6) Interacting with people
on Snapchat makes me feel connected to the bigger picture; (7)
Interacting with people on Snapchat reminds me that everyone in
the world is connected; (8) I am willing to spend time to support
general Snapchat community activities; (9) Interacting with people
on Snapchat gives me new people to talk to; and (10) On Snapchat,I
come into contact with new people all the time. The ten-item index
was found to be reliable (Cronbach
¼ 0.91) and descriptive results
for this scale are summarised in Supplementary Table 4.
3. Results
3.1. Exploratory survey
The majority of participants (89%) were aged between 16 and 25
years, of white ethnic origin (89%), not in a relationship (72%),
heterosexual (88%), and living in an urban or suburban area (83%).
The summary of demographic details for participants is shown in
Table 1.
Over 47% of participants reported that they started using
Snapchat because their friends were using it, and because it's fun to
use (17%), with other reasons being: easy and free (8%), curiosity
(6%), communication (5%), and privacy (2%). Almost 80% of users
reported that they use Snapchat to interact with no more than 12
people on a regular basis (Fig. 1). The majority of participants also
use Facebook (96%), Instagram (59%) and Twitter (58%) to share
photos or videos using a smartphone, with less frequently used SNS
being Tumblr (13%), Pinterest (8%), Flickr (4%) and WhatsApp (1%).
Participants reported SMS, Facebook Messenger and Snapchat as the
most frequently used instant messaging services, as seen in Fig. 2 .
When required to recall the context and description of the last
snap participants sent, almost all users reported their they last snap
was a photo (95%) with a doodle embedded (74%) which was
mostly in the form of a text message (94%) and rarely a drawing
(6%). Half of the participants reported that the last snap they sent
was was a sele,
while the remaining participants sent a broad
range of content such as screenshots (7%), food images (7%), or
various other objects (6%) e see Fig. 3a for more details. Almost 55%
of participants reported that the snap they sent was a reply to one
they received. Similar to the sent content, a sele was the most
frequently reported snap received (63%; Fig. 3a) and almost all
(96%) participants reported that they did not screenshot the snap
they received. The result of inter-rater reliability Cohen's
a substantial degree of agreement between raters for judging both
send (
¼ 0.69, z ¼ 26.1) and received content (
¼ 0.54, z ¼ 14.5).
The majority of participants reported that communication (48%)
and desire to share funny, personal or emotional content (40%)
were the main reasons for sending the snap, with other reasons
being boredom (5%); 7% of participants did not remember why they
sent it. Interestingly, most participants reported being in various
Sele is a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a
smartphone or webcam and shared via social media (Ef tekhar et al., 2014).
L. Piwek, A. Joinson / Computers in Human Behavior 54 (2016) 358e367 361
locations at their home (75%), such as in their room or bed, while
sending the last snap (Fig. 3d). The majority of snaps were sent in
the late morning/early afternoon hours between 10 am and 2 pm
(27%), and in the evening between 7 pm and 11 pm (32%), as seen
on Fig. 3e.
The majority of participants reported that the recipient of the
snap was a single person (73%) with close friend (55%) and partner
(18%) being the most common recipients (Fig. 3b). Participant's
who sent their snaps to a group of people (27%) sent it mainly to
close friends (62%), although a mix of random people was also
highly reported as a recipient (29%; Fig. 3c). The majority of par-
ticipants reported being in a good or very good mood (76%) when
they sent the snap (18% reported neither good nor bad mood, and
5% reported being in bad mood). The majority of participants had
not have been drinking when they sent the snap (92%) and those
that did (8%) had an equivalent of four pints of lager on average.
3.2. Follow-up social capital survey
In the follow up survey we examined whether Snapchat is used
for bridging and bonding social capital and we collected more de-
tails on the intensity of Snapchat use. As we described in the
Methods section 2.1, we recruited a subset of participants (n ¼ 97)
who took the main exploratory survey and this subgroup had very
similar sociodemographic characteristics (see Table 1 for detailed
In order to explore the relationship between Snapchat use and
the various forms of social capital, we conducted a number of
regression analyses. In each regression, we controlled for socio-
demographic, Internet and IM use factors, and intensity of Snap-
chat use, in order to see if the use of Snapchat accounted for vari-
ance in social capital over and above these other independent
variables. A descriptive summary of the results for intensity of
Snapchat use, bonding, and bridging can be found in the
Supplementary Table 4.
Due to relatively small sample size included in the regression
analysis we rst conducted regression diagnostics to establish
whether any of the four assumptions of linear regression were
violated. To this end we applied a global test procedure
oped by Pe
na and Slate (2006). The test can be viewed as a Neyman
smooth test and it only relies on the standardised residual vector
(Rayner & Best, 1990). If the global procedure indicates a violation
of at least one of the assumptions, the components of the global test
statistic can be utilised to gain insights into which assumptions
have been violated (Pe
na & Slate, 2006). The advantage of such
procedure is that it reduces the oftentimes subjective assessment of
the validity of model assumptions when using existing graphical
techniques (Pe
na & Slate, 2006 ). We found that none of the as-
sumptions were violated in our linear model for bonding (Skew-
ness (
¼ 0.71, p ¼ 0.4); Kurtosis (
¼ 0.03, p ¼ 0.85; Link
Function (
¼ 0.24, p ¼ 0.62, Heteroscedasticity (
¼ 0.05,
p ¼ 0.83) and bridging social capital (Skewness (
¼ 1.44
p ¼ 0.23); Kurtosis (
¼ 2.3, p ¼ 0.13); Link Function (
¼ 0.72,
p ¼ 0.4, Heteroscedasticity (
¼ 0.58 p ¼ 0.45).
Table 1
Sociodemographic characteristics (given in % and N size) for participants who
completed main exploratory survey (n ¼ 209), and follow-up social capital survey
(n ¼ 96).
Main Follow-up
Female 67 (139) 69 (67)
Male 33 (70) 31 (30)
16e20 62 (130) 58 (56)
21e25 27 (57) 27 (26)
26e30 6 (13) 10 (10)
31e35 2 (5) 3 (3)
36e40 1 (2) 2 (1)
41 or more 1 (2) 2 (1)
White 89 (187) 88 (85)
Asian/Asian British 4 (9) 2 (2)
Mixed/multiple ethnic groups 2 (5) 3 (3)
Black/African/Caribbean 2 (4) 4 (4)
Other ethnic group 1 (2) 2 (2)
I prefer not to say 1 (2) 1 (1)
Marital status
Single 72 (150) 68 (66)
Relationship e not co-habiting 15 (26) 15 (15)
Relationship e co-habiting 12 (31) 14 (14)
Divorced 0.5 (1) 1 (1)
I prefer not to say 0.5 (1) 1 (1)
Working status
Full Time 11 (22) 10 (10)
Part Time 46 (97) 44 (43)
Not Employed 42 (87) 42 (41)
I prefer not to say 1 (3) 1 (3)
Area of living
Urban 54 (112) 52 (50)
Suburban 29 (60) 32 (31)
Rural 18 (37) 16 (16)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual 88 (183) 84 (81)
Gay 8 (16) 10 (10)
Bisexual 3 (9) 5 (5)
I prefer not to say 1 (1) 1 (1)
Fig. 1. The number of people participants regularly interact with on Snapchat
(n ¼ 209).
Fig. 2. The average frequency of use for various instant messaging services (n ¼ 209).
It's important to note that although the assumptions in linear model were not
violated, we didn't introduce interactions due to small sample size (n ¼ 97) used in
the follow-up survey. As Leon and Heo (2009) showed in a relevant simulations, we
would require a sample size of at least
¼ 208 for theoretical statistical power of
80% to detect the interaction in a mixed-effects linear regression model.
L. Piwek, A. Joinson / Computers in Human Behavior 54 (2016) 358e367362
We rst investigated the extent to which socio-demographic
factors, and basic Internet/IM use, predicted the amount of
bonding social capital reported by participants. In the regression
analysis predicting bonding social capital (Table 2), those control
variables accounted for 12% of the variance with signicant effects
of age (scaled
¼0.37, p < 0.05), although this effect disappeared
after adding Snapchat use intensity into the model. R
increased to
36% with the addition of Snapchat use intensity variable (scaled
0.51, p < 0.01). This indicates that intensity of the Snapchat use is
positively associated with bonding social capital. When Snapchat
use intensity variable was added to the model, we also found a
signicant effect for gender (scaled
¼0.41, p < 0.05). This in-
dicates that female participants reported greater bonding social
capital than their male counterparts.
We used exactly the same independent variables as predictors
in bridging social capital (Table 3). In the regression analysis pre-
dicting bridging social capital, those control variables also
accounted for 12% of the variance but with no signicant effects.
The Snapchat use intensity variable was again positively associated
with bridging social capital (scaled
¼ 0.43, p < 0.01) accounting for
28% of the variance.
Fig. 3. Percentage of participants who (a) sent (n ¼ 209) received (n ¼ 114) specic snap, which (b) single person (73%; n ¼ 153) or (c) a group of people (27%; n ¼ 56) they sent it to,
(d) location (n ¼ 209), and (e) time of the day when they sent it (n ¼ 203).
L. Piwek, A. Joinson / Computers in Human Behavior 54 (2016) 358e367 363
4. Discussion
We report the ndings of the rst study on the patterns of
Snapchat use by means of a detailed survey and analysis of the last
snap sent and received. We also looked at more general aspects of
Snapchat use, as well as the association between intensity of
Snapchat use and social capital.
To start with, Snapchat was reported to be amongst the top three
IM services that respondents used most frequently e on a par with
Facebook Communicator and conventional text messaging (SMS).
Almost all participants also shared their photos on Facebook.Those
results were not surprising e as Quan-Haase and Young (2010)
pointed out, users tend to employ a broad range of digital commu-
nication tools that become integrated into a bundle of media use.
Snapchat was mainly used to communicate with a single person
rather than a group of people, and this person mainly includes close
friends, partners and family members. The overall number of
contacts people interacted with using Snapchat was relatively small
in comparison to Facebook. These results are in line with Roesner
et al. (2014) and Utz et al. (2015) who also found that users have
small and close social networks on Snapchat. Small networks
typically consist of people who are in our closest social circles
(Sutcliffe, Dunbar, Binder, & Arrow, 2012). Dunbar (1992, 1998)
hypothesized that small networks are easier to manage due to
inherent cognitive limitations in the number of people with whom
one can maintain stable social relationships. The importance of
small-network size was also highlighted in studies looking at the
differences in gratication from use of IMs and SNS. With IM, users
can engage in more intimate and private conversations, allowing
them to share their problems with communication partners more
easily, and allowing for better intimacy and a sense of connection
(Hu, Wood, Smith, & Westbrook, 2004). In contrast, SNS more
closely resemble a mix of e-mail and an online forum, where
messages are visible to the entire community. Quan-Haase and
Young (2010) argue that this is a key distinction in the use of SNS
and IM e that IM platforms such as Snapchat allow communication
partners to engage in deeper exchanges with affection, whereas
SNS such as Facebook tend to support the exchange of short mes-
sages via a public wall. Although messages can be exchanged pri-
vately via tools such as Facebook Communicator, this feature is
similar to e-mail and hence does not really support emotional
The argument about the more intimate use of Snapchat was
further supported by our ndings on the relationship between
Snapchat use and social capital. Similarly to Ellison et al. (2007),who
examined social capital on
Facebook, we found a positive association
between intensity of Snapchat use and social capital. However,
Snapchat appeared to be more useful for bonding rather than
bridging of social capital, which is opposite to what Ellison et al.
(2007) found for Facebook. Facebook, used with large social net-
works, serves to accelerate the intensity of relationships and lowers
barriers for participation in social groups, but appears to be less
useful in creating the close kind of relationships associated with
bonding capital (Vitak et al., 2011). Snapchat, used to forge small
networks of close relationships, is more a facilitator for the bonding
of social capital. As highlighted above in the context of IM vs SNS
differences, Snapchat offers a more intimate, private and conver-
sation-like mode of communication, and therefore its intensity of
use is associated more with bonding rather than bridging of social
capital. Bridging social capital is typically associated with the
informational benets of a diversied network of so called weak
ties.Thoseweak ties are loose connections between individuals
who may provide useful information or new perspectives for one
another but not necessarily emotional support (Granovetter, 1983;
Steineldetal.,2008). Bridging has been highly associated with
the intensity of Facebook use, where users typically communicate
with a large and diverse network of people, contrasting with small
networks in Snapchat. To summarise, a stronger association with
intensity of Snapchat use and bonding, rather than bridging, may
well stem from the fact that people use Snapchat mainly to enhance
a strong emotional ties with friends, partners and family, rather
than cultivate a large and weak networks, like in case of Facebook.
We also found that general demographics, Internet and IM use
were not signicant predictors of bonding social capital, suggesting
that only certain kinds of uses of the Internet support the genera-
tion and maintenance of bonding and bridging of social capital
(Ellison et al., 2007). However, we found that bonding social capital
was predicted not only by Snapchat intensity of use, but also by
being female. This was surprising because majority of existing
studies have found no relationship between gender and bridging or
bonding social capital on SNS (e.g. Ellison et al., 2007; Lee et al.,
2014). However, women and men tend to have different styles in
valuing and sustaining relationships (Duck
& Wright, 1993; Eagly &
Steffen, 1984), so one expects there might be differences in the way
they use the Internet for interpersonal communication. Indeed,
previous research have suggested that males and females use the
same ICT for different purposes, with females reported using email
to maintain relationships while males used it to organise meetings
ofine (Boneva, Kraut, & Frohlich, 2001). It may be that females are
more adept at using the affordances of new ICT, including Snapchat,
in order to build bonding social capital, although more research is
required to better understand the exact nature of this effect with
time-limited IM services.
Table 2
Relation between Snapchat use and bonding social capital.
Model 1: Controls Model 2: Controls þ
Snapchat intensity
Gender 0.342(0.204) 0.406
Age 0.369
(0.182) 0.136 (0.162)
Sexual orientation 0.112 (0.239) 0.162 (0.206)
Employment 0.105 (0.171) 0.134 (0.147)
Relationship 0.114 (0.185) 0.084 (0.163)
Hours of internet/day 0.022 (0.034) 0.028 (0.029)
Frequency of IM use 0.055 (0.136) 0.147 (0.123)
Snapchat Intensity 0.510
Constant 3.778
(0.662) 2.891
Observations 92 92
0.122 0.361
Adjusted R
0.049 0.299
F Statistic 1.668 (df ¼ 7; 84) 5.858
(df ¼ 8; 83)
Note: Gender was coded as 0 ¼ female, 1 ¼ male
p < 0.05;
p < 0.01.
Table 3
Relation between Snapchat use and bridging social capital.
Model 1: Controls Model 2: Controls þ
Snapchat intensity
Gender 0.189 (0.208) 0.136 (0.189)
Age 0.329 (0.186) 0.133 (0.175)
Sexual orientation 0.251 (0.244) 0.294 (0.222)
Employment 0.055 (0.175) 0.080 (0.159)
Relationship 0.247 (0.189) 0.081 (0.176)
Hours of internet/day 0.007 (0.035) 0.013 (0.031)
Frequency of IM use 0.228 (0.139) 0.058 (0.132)
Snapchat Intensity 0.427
Constant 1.552
(0.675) 0.810 (0.637)
Observations 92 92
0.120 0.281
Adjusted R
0.046 0.212
F Statistic 1.630 (df ¼ 7; 84) 4.061
(df ¼ 8; 83)
Note: Gender was coded as 0 ¼ female, 1 ¼ male
p < 0.05;
p < 0.01.
L. Piwek, A. Joinson / Computers in Human Behavior 54 (2016) 358e367364
When examining the specic incidence of the last snap that
participants shared via Snapchat, we found that users typically send
(and receive) a sele e a self-portrait photograph. The practice of
taking and sending seles has progressively developed with the
proliferation of digital media and now represents a recognised
element in culture, particularly amongst young people. Luders,
Proitz, and Rasmussen (2010) pointed out that smartphones have
become a common medium that contribute to this disciplined, yet
playful, visual self-authoring. While research on seles has been
limited, especially in the psychological domain, existing studies
show that photos shared on social networking sites are a practical
and informative means of representing self-image, interpersonal
impressions, and identity management (Eftekhar, Fullwood, &
Morris, 2014; Saslow, Muise, Impett, & Dubin, 2012; Tosun, 2012;
Van Der Heide, D'Angelo, & Schumaker, 2012). One study argues
that making and editing a large number of seles is associated with
Dark Triad traits, especially narcissism (Fox & Rooney, 2015). Fox
and Rooney (2015) argue that narcissists are prone to social com-
parison (Krizan & Bushman, 2011), and may present these edited
and optimised seles on SNSs as a strategy to convey their
perceived superiority to others (Jonason, Lyons, Baughman, &
Vernon, 2014). However, all the studies mentioned above exam-
ined sele posting strategies on Facebook, and there is a distinctive
lack of studies on making seles with IM services. Snapchat is used
with much closer contact groups than Facebook or other social
networking sites where photos are typically shared with larger
groups of people. Hypothetically, the high intimacy level on Snap-
chat discussed above may have a different impact on the strategies
and motivation for sharing seles on SNS such as Facebook. More
research is needed to better understand differences in users mo-
tivations and strategies for sharing their seles on various social
media sites.
One of the intuitive and attractive features of Snapchat design is
that it affords the quick and effortless making of seles, while the
ability to add short text comments and doodles makes it even more
playful. In fact, the playfulness of Snapchat is re
ected in a number
of other results we obtained including: reason why participants
started using it (25% reported in different way that they use
Snapchat because it's enjoyable activity); positive mood reported
while sending their last snap (76% positive); as well as the playful
and funny type of content users reported sending. In previous
studies measures of playfulness have been used to establish the
degree to which user experiences fun when using the technology
(Davis, Bagozzi, & Warshaw, 1992; Moon & Kim, 2001; Van der
Heijden, 2003). For instance, Sledgianowski and Kulviwat (2009)
examined user adoption on Facebook, Friendster, and MySpace.
Playfulness has been identied as one of the most critical factor in
using those SNS, next to other factors such as critical mass of other
users, and trust and perceived ease of use. It's possible that the
narrative, conversation-like, and intimate nature of Snapchat, with
an interface that affords the easy exchange of short impressions,
becomes a preferred medium to playfully socialise in a more private
setting than public SNS such as Facebook. Snapchat is immersive to
use because you have to hold your nger on the screen to see the
content, and you only have one chance to view the received content
before it disappears therefore you need to stay focused when
receiving message. Arguably, the combination of self-destructing
images with an immersive interface that restricts the scope of
user interaction with the content makes Snapchat an instant
narrative vehicle that is similar to verbal story exchange.
We found that just three participants shared and received sen-
sitive content, specically a naked or semi-naked photo of them-
selves, and they reported sending it to their partners. We also found
that security and privacy were not a user concern and that only 2%
of participants reported it as one of the reasons they use Snapchat.
This supports Roesner et al. (2014) nding that Snapchat's success is
not due to its security properties but because users nd Snapchat to
be fun. This also goes against common misconceptions in the media
that self-destructing content lowers inhibitions and therefore in-
creases the chances of sexting.
One limitation of our study is that we only sampled a single snap
and therefore it's difcult to say how representative this single
incidence is in the broader use of Snapchat. While we get a clear
pattern of activity that is common across users (such as sharing
seles), some behaviours might be underrepresented. However,
because content is unavailable to examine amongst Snapchat users,
the memory sampling method seemed an appropriate way for
obtaining accurate picture of Snapchat use. A larger sample size
could further rene these results. There are still a number of
unanswered questions that could be further explored by employing
more direct, qualitative methods of engaging Snapchat users, such
as focus groups. Do people dose
themselves with snaps and how
they do it? Is the content that people share on Snapchat more
spontaneous than content shared on other IM services or SNS?
Perhaps content that people share on Snapchat is less self-censored
than content shared via other SNS? Or maybe Snapchat is a part of
media disposal culture e younger generations may lack a prefer-
ence for physical media and perceive instant media as more
desirable mode of communication. While young people seem to be
a key Snapchat user group, it would be interesting to compare the
differences between younger and older users. With Facebook now
releasing similar tools, and Instagram offering disposable content,
we may be facing a new chapter in how content is generated,
shared and stored e one that moves from default public sharing, to
the default removal of shared content.
5. Conclusions
Snapchat's rapidly increasing popularity among young age
groups rises a number of questions about how users utilise IM
services with time-limited and self-destructing content, and how
this relates to the use of other popular SNS such as Facebook. The
current study is amongst the rst that investigate a detail patterns
of Snapchat use by surveying the very last incidence of snap that
participants send and receive. The study also examines the rela-
tionship between intensity of Snapchat use and social capital. Re-
sults indicate that Snapchat is mainly used as a playful mobile IM
service to rapidly communicate and share content, especially self-
ies, with a small group of close friends, partners and family. Such
strong ties oriented use is further reected by a strong association
between Snapchat intensity of use and bonding, rather than
bridging, of social capital. It seems that popularity and patterns of
Snapchat use highlighted in our study might be a sign of a new form
of digital narrative rising amongst younger population of social
media users e a narrative that is achieved by seamless and playful
use of smartphones to capture and share content-rich moments
that cease to exist a second later.
Our study highlights how Snapchat become effortlessly
embedded within its users daily communication practises and is
currently the most popular form of IM in par with SMS and Face-
book Communicator. Although our study shows that privacy risk for
Snapchat users are less profound than indicated in the popular
media, parents and educational institutions should be aware of risk
associated with such services. Due to sele-oriented use of Snap-
chat that pose a potential risk of unintended disclosure of sensitive
personal content, parents of the youngest users should be espe-
cially aware of Snapchat use. However, the fact that Snapchat offers
such playful form of communication could be also utilised by
educational institutions as a new mean of engagement. In addition
to helping young students populations, the use of Snapchat could
L. Piwek, A. Joinson / Computers in Human Behavior 54 (2016) 358e367 365
support variety of other populations, including community mem-
bers, and others who benet from maintained ties. However, more
research is needed to fully understand how ubiquitous and
disruptive such use of self-destructing messaging is in the cultural
and socio-psychological context of the digital media use.
The authors would like to thank Dr Yvette Morey for her valu-
able comments and discussions regarding the results presented in
this manuscript.
Appendix A . Supplementary data
Supplementary data related to this article can be found at http://
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$19B (23 Feb 2015). Wired Online URL
L. Piwek, A. Joinson / Computers in Human Behavior 54 (2016) 358e367 367
... Prior work has found that many adolescents perceive Snapchat as an appealing medium to communicate with their friends [3], especially because the disappearing images can remain outside of parental control. Although research on adolescents' motivations for using Snapchat is limited, a study among a convenience sample of young adults has found that the most frequently sent and received content on Snapchat consists of selfies, which was reported by 50% of the participants, followed by screenshots at only 7% [4]. The most common recipient of the message is a close friend or partner, accounting for 55% and 18% respectively [4]. ...
... Although research on adolescents' motivations for using Snapchat is limited, a study among a convenience sample of young adults has found that the most frequently sent and received content on Snapchat consists of selfies, which was reported by 50% of the participants, followed by screenshots at only 7% [4]. The most common recipient of the message is a close friend or partner, accounting for 55% and 18% respectively [4]. Young adults value Snapchat's simple design and use it to share personal or entertaining content that they would not share on other platforms [4,5]. ...
... The most common recipient of the message is a close friend or partner, accounting for 55% and 18% respectively [4]. Young adults value Snapchat's simple design and use it to share personal or entertaining content that they would not share on other platforms [4,5]. ...
Snapchat offers a unique function, the Snapchat Streak, which is a gamified function within the app that motivates users to participate in daily interactions. This feature of the application can aid users in building a friendship with their peers. Given the requirement of interacting on the platform every 24 hours, our exploratory study aims to investigate how Snapchat streaks are associated with Fear of Missing Out (FOMO), problematic smartphone use and social media self-control. We conducted a study among a final sample of 2483 early adolescents (Mage = 13.46 years old; SD = 0.894) in the Dutch-speaking community of Belgium. The results indicate that the girls were more likely than boys to engage in a Snapchat streak and were more likely to engage in streaks for a longer period of time. Problematic smartphone use was associated with the engagement in Snapchat streaks. Lastly, FOMO, problematic smartphone use, and social media self-control were correlated with the number of people and the number of days adolescents maintained Snapchat streaks with, albeit it being a weak relationship. Implications of the findings for understanding adolescent Snapchat use are provided.
... This affordance of anonymity is constructed from a set of features. For example, users may feel that Snapchat has greater Anonymity than Facebook due to differences in sets of Features (i.e., using a real name on Facebook vs. not on Snapchat, snaps disappearing by default instead of staying by default, less vs. more control over who sees a post, etc.) [4,24,50,58]. This relationship between Features and Affordances is not one-to-one; a set of Features (i.e., all of the Features in Instagram Stories) may lead to an Affordance rather than a single Feature (i.e., posting photos). ...
... Snapchat is image and video-based, but its key Feature is ephemerality. Posts made to it by default disappear after a certain period, and posts generally go to a smaller audience, with the poster having more control over who sees what posts [4,58,73]. Finally, TikTok is the newest social medium of this group. As of 2020, it has recently exploded in popularity in the US. ...
How do Millennial and Gen-Z young adults decide between competing social media when choosing where to post? Previous research argues that decisions can be modeled based on these users' Goals, and the Affordances, Features1, and Social Norms of those media. To evaluate this model, 19 participants were given different self-presentation scenarios and asked to choose between Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, and TikTok. Participants also constructed a flowchart to represent their mental model of factors influencing their choices. Data suggest revisions to the model; rather than reflecting Affordances and Features, we found that Social Norms and Goals primarily drove participants' choices. Participants choose media based on a direct match between Goals and existing Social Norms. Only when they failed to detect such a match did participants consider Affordances and Features. We present a revised conceptual model based on these results and discuss social media design and theory implications.
... This might be due to the different usage of and content on these three social media networks (Vanherle et al., 2022). On Snapchat users are mainly exposed to content from private conversations among close friends (Piwek & Joinson, 2016). Due to this private nature of perceived content adolescents are primarily exposed to content which they are already familiar from their offline interactions. ...
... Furthermore, people who can be categorised as high sensation seekers connect more frequently with deviant peers that lead to novel and non-normative stimulation (Caspi et al., 2005). Due to the more intimate use of Snapchat (Piwek & Joinson, 2016), one might argue that sensation seekers are more likely to be connected with deviant peers on this platform and therefore particularly stimulated with cannabis-related content, ultimately leading to a higher intention to consume cannabis in the future. Due to the public nature of Instagram and TikTok this stimulation might not be possible or at least not that intense on the other platforms. ...
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Cannabis is one of the most common substances consumed among adolescents and research demonstrates that exposure to cannabis-related content online is associated with cannabis consumption. However, little is known about the relationship between exposure on different social media platforms and the role of personal characteristics such as sensation seeking. We conducted a cross-sectional study among 1,309 adolescents between 15 and 19 years old in Switzerland investigating the relationship between exposure to cannabis-related content on Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok and the intention to consume cannabis. Results suggest a positive link between exposure to cannabis-related content on Instagram and the intention to consume cannabis. No such link emerged regarding Snapchat or TikTok. Additionally, we found a positive relationship between adolescents’ sensation seeking and the intention to consume cannabis. Moreover, we found that high sensation seekers’ exposure to cannabis-related content on Snapchat is positively related to the intention to consume cannabis. In sum, this study shows that not only the platform matters when discussing the effects of cannabis-related online content but also personal characteristics such as sensation seeking.
... As a private communication medium, Snapchat offers an SCU from the open and public nature of other social media platforms like Facebook . Additionally, With the advent of Snapchat, users are no longer hesitant to share anything online due to the app's simple interface and unique capabilities connected to the deletion of content after a specified period (Piwek & Joinson, 2016). Due to the fleeting nature of the content, the line between documentation and lived experience becomes fuzzier with Snapchat's self-destructive nature of messaging (Kamble, et al., 2021). ...
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This study examines the extent of Snapchat usage among young adults in Pakistan, aged 18-35, and how they utilize various features of the app in their daily lives. The study also investigates the mediating role of self-esteem and problematic Snapchat usage in explaining the link between Snapchat use and life satisfaction. Data was collected from young adults in Lahore, a metropolitan city in Pakistan. The study found that Snapchat is more commonly used by males, younger age groups (18-24), those with up to 12 years of education, and urban users in Pakistan. Frequent Snapchat users tend to engage more in chatting with friends, viewing spotlight reels, and maintaining streaks. However, visiting profiles is less common among frequent users. The study also highlights a positive correlation between viewing spotlight reels and saving memories. While social media use may have addictive qualities, the study found that only a small subset of the population is at risk of problematic Snapchat use. Additionally, the study suggests that excessive use of Snapchat does not necessarily improve well-being and may have both positive and negative effects on users' self-worth and happiness. The study also indicates that social status plays a significant role in determining happiness.
... These short clips on the homepage stayed there for twenty-four hours before they disappeared. With later upgrades including interactive filters, lenses, and various editing tools, Snapchat defined short videos as we know them today (Piwek & Joinson, 2016;Roesner et al., 2014). During Snapchat's reign, Vine was founded as a social media application that let users post, at maximum, six-second videos that looped unless scrolled away. ...
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The TikTok experience refers to a user’s interaction with the platform while scrolling through various videos. The user can change what they are viewing instantly on one screen much like a TV viewer, the only difference being that whatever is being watched is in the form of short videos made specifically for the platform. These videos vary in style and form and are made to be viewed within the platform itself. All the content that a user watches within the mobile application, in the end, forms a longer, theoretically never-ending, video that is sometimes completely unrelated but more often similar through shared jokes, memes, and visual filters. This way of producing and viewing short-form videos as a whole is reminiscent of the way Everything Everywhere All At Once feels to the audience which is no surprise as many other forms of media and artworks are inspired by internet short-form video platforms such as TikTok.
Conference Paper
With the advancement of digital inclusion, the ability of older adults to use ICT has increased significantly. Smartphone dependence is a pervasive and damaging behavior. With the permeation of smartphones among urban older adults, smartphone dependence is emerging in this population. However, the mechanism underlying smartphone dependence among the older users are still understudied. In this research, we employed the critical incident technique (CIT) method to investment the antecedents and consequences of older users’ smartphone dependence. This research gathered and analyzed qualitative data from 9 males and 11 females of older adults aged 55 to 63. The results indicated that antecedents of older adults’ smartphone dependence include contextual factors, emotional lift, anxiety sensitivity, and self-regulation. We built the seniors & smartphone pull-out battle model to reveal the process of how these antecedents impact smartphone dependence. In addition, smartphone dependence among older adults would lead to cognitive, psychological, and behavioral consequences. Our work advances older users’ smartphone engagement research by exploring the antecedents and consequences of older adults’ smartphone dependence behaviors. Meanwhile, this research provides practical insights for smartphone practitioners, family members, and older adults to manage smartphone dependence.
Introduction Despite extensive research on social media and risks for mental health, not enough is known about individual differences in these risks. Methods The present study, with data collected from 2018 to 2020, investigated the association between social media use (total and for specific platforms) and depressive symptoms in a sample of 237 American adolescents ( M age = 15.10; SD = 0.49; 51.1% girls and 48.5% boys). We investigated several moderators: gender, self‐esteem, personality, and negative reactions to social media. Covariates were gender, timing of the follow‐up (pre vs. during the pandemic), and depressive symptoms a year earlier. Results Results indicated that greater total time spent on social media was associated with higher levels of depressive symptoms. This effect held for Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube (but not Snapchat, Facebook, or Twitter). Several moderated effects were found. Twitter was associated with more depressive symptoms for girls but not boys. More frequent Instagram use was linked to more depressive symptoms for less or average‐level extraverted teens but not for more extraverted teens, suggesting extraversion may be protective. More frequent TikTok use was associated with more depressive symptoms, particularly for teens who said they have more or average‐level negative reactions to social media a year earlier. Conclusions This study suggests that certain adolescents may be at increased risk for serious mental health challenges, like elevated depressive symptoms, when using TikTok, Instagram, or Twitter more frequently, underscoring the importance of examining individual differences and particular social media platforms.
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Digital technology has long provided new ways of initiating romantic relationships as people communicate through text messages, social media, and dating applications. Emojis have been widely adopted as a means of conveying nonverbal cues in digital communication. However, what role do platform‐provided social cues, such as emojis, play in fostering or impeding clear communication and shared romantic expectations from a flirtatious text message conversation? In this study, 713 college students were randomly assigned to read a Snapchat conversation with or without emojis and, they were subsequently asked to infer the characters' thoughts and feelings, clarity of the characters' intentions, and indicate their own discomfort with receiving a similar Snapchat message. The results showed that emojis increase the clarity of the main character's intentions. Moreover, the participants' cognitive efforts, the extent to which they were emotionally affected by the conversation, and the presence of emojis reduced comfort level with receiving a similar Snapchat message. These findings suggest that emojis provide clarity to romantic conversations, which can amplify the interpersonal discomfort of receiving text‐based sexual overtures.
The rapid rise and fall of digital products and the ebbs and flows of Internet culture may seem antithetical—or at the very least a significant hurdle—to historical investigations. Can media scholars write digital histories “on the fly” and of recent events, some still unfolding in front of our eyes? This article addresses this question by studying objects, designs, and values in motion and in flux. I track the quality of ephemerality from the early days of cyberspace to the present and as it relates to different players and stakeholders. In so doing, a historical perspective of the perceptions and applications of evanescence will serve as the foundation for engaging with several contradictory and dynamic processes (commodification, resistance, and metabolization). This piece spotlights ephemerality’s evolving role from a de facto state of affairs to a rarity, a resistive strategy, and, finally, a popular feature.
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A growing portion of offline and online human activities leave digital footprints in electronic databases. Resulting big social data offers unprecedented insights into population-wide patterns and detailed characteristics of the individuals. The goal of this paper is to review the literature showing how pervasive records of digital footprints, such as Facebook profile, or mobile device logs, can be used to infer personality, a major psychological framework describing differences in individual behavior. We briefly introduce personality and present a range of works focusing on predicting it from digital footprints and conclude with a discussion of the implications of these results in terms of privacy, data ownership, and opportunities for future research in computational social science.
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Recent news in the media has suggested that younger people are using popular social media such as Facebook less and are quickly adopting newer media, such as the self-destructing app Snapchat. Snapchat is unique in that it erases messages several seconds after they have been sent, affording its users a higher level of privacy. Yet, little research exists on Snapchat use in general, let alone its broader psychological implications. This article offers a preliminary comparison of Snapchat and Facebook use and psychological effects on romantic jealousy. General motives for using Snapchat and Facebook are examined, as well as the nature of the content that Snapchat users most frequently share. Further, because of the differences in privacy and persistence of information, potential psychological effects in the domain of romantic jealousy are also examined, which has been widely studied on Facebook in the last few years. Findings show that the main difference in motives were that Snapchat was used more for flirting and finding new love interests, whereas Facebook was still the main social networking site used for keeping in touch with friends. Further, when presenting users with a series of potentially jealousy provoking scenarios, Snapchat elicited higher levels of jealousy than did Facebook. These findings are explained based on an affordance approach.
Conference Paper
The privacy-related Snapchat smartphone application allows users to share time-limited photos or videos, which “disappear” after a specified number of seconds once opened. This paper describes the results of a user survey designed to help us understand how and why people use the Snapchat application. We surveyed 127 adult Snapchat users, finding that security is not a major concern for the majority of these respondents. We learn that most do not use Snapchat to send sensitive content (although up to 25 % may do so experimentally), that taking screenshots is not generally a violation of the sender’s trust but instead common and expected, that most respondents understand that messages can be recovered, and that security and privacy concerns are overshadowed by other influences on how and why respondents choose to use or not use Snapchat. Nevertheless, we find that a non-negligible fraction (though not a majority) of respondents have adapted or would adapt their behavior in response to understanding Snapchat’s (lack of) security properties, suggesting that there remains an opportunity for a more secure messaging application. We reflect on the implications of our findings for Snapchat and on the design of secure messaging applications.
Conventional wisdom over the past 160 years in the cognitive and neurosciences has assumed that brains evolved to process factual information about the world. Most attention has therefore been focused on such features as pattern recognition, color vision, and speech perception. By extension, it was assumed that brains evolved to deal with essentially ecological problem-solving tasks. 1.
The use of Internet social network sites has become an international phenomenon. These websites enable computer-mediated communication between people with common interests such as school, family, and friendship. Popular sites include MySpace and Facebook. Their rapid widespread usage warrants a better understanding. This study contributes to our understanding by empirically investigating factors influencing user adoption of these sites. We introduce the Social Network Site Adoption model to examine the effect of perceptions of normative pressure, playfulness, critical mass, trust, usefulness, and ease of use on usage intention and actual usage of these sites. Structural equation modeling was used to examine the patterns of inter-correlations among the constructs and to empirically test the hypotheses. All the hypothesized determinants have a significant direct effect on intent to use, with perceived playfulness and perceived critical mass the strongest indicators. Intent to use and perceived playfulness have a significant direct effect on actual usage.
Through the use of the critical incident technique one may collect specific and significant behavioral facts, providing "… a sound basis for making inferences as to requirements… " for measures of typical performance (criteria), measures of proficiency (standard samples), training, selection and classification, job design and purification, operating procedures, equipment design, motivation and leadership (attitudes), and counseling and psychotherapy. The development, fundamental principles, present status, and uses of the critical incident technique are discussed, along with a review of studies employing the technique and suggestions for further applications.
The purpose of this study is to examine the factors that influence social presence and user satisfaction with Mobile Instant Messaging (mIM). The proposed research model integrates channel expansion, social influence, social presence and media richness theories, to explain how user experience, social influence, and medium richness influence social presence and user satisfaction with mIM. A total of 239 students from a state university in the US participated in this study. Data was collected via a web-based survey. The results suggest that user experience, social influence, and perceived richness are important drivers for social presence and user satisfaction in mIM. The implications of the study findings are discussed in the paper. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
Purpose – Based on the premises of Putnam’s bridging social capital, and on Ellison, Steinfield and Lampe’s notion of maintained social capital, the purpose of this paper is to explore the extent to which the well-being variables of self-esteem and loneliness, as well as What’s App attitudes and intention to use variables, explain the social capital students gain from What’s App use. Design/methodology/approach – The research was conducted in Israel during the second semester of the 2014 academic year and included 124 students from two major universities in Israel. Researchers used six questionnaires to gather data. Findings – Findings confirm that the well-being variables, as well as What’s App attitudes and intention to use, affect the social capital students gain while using What’s App. Originality/value – The findings of this study shed light on a new technological platform: What’s App that has rarely been examined to date. In addition, it expands the social capital and well-being perspectives to new media.
An online survey of a nationally representative sample of U.S. men aged 18-40 assessed trait predictors of social networking site use as well as two forms of visual self-presentation: editing one’s image in photographs posted on social networking sites (SNSs) and posting “selfies,” or pictures users take of themselves. We examined the Dark Triad (i.e., narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy) and trait self-objectification as predictors. Self-objectification and narcissism predicted time spent on SNSs. Narcissism and psychopathy predicted the number of selfies posted, whereas narcissism and self-objectification predicted editing photographs of oneself posted on SNSs. We discuss selective self-presentation processes on social media and how these traits may influence interpersonal relationship development in computer-mediated communication.