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Dear Snapchat, We Need To Talk

It’s not me, it’s you.

We can’t keep going on and on like this forever…

dearsnapchatThings just aren’t right and … well, we both know this isn’t going to end well if one of us doesn’t change.

Don’t get me wrong. I still like you — a lot! Those new facial tracking filters? Hubba hubba. And you’re so popular. You’ve got over 100 million daily active users, and 36% of 18- to 29-year-old Americans have an account with you. I dig that.

But you’ve got this philosophy that you’re a platform built for people and not for brands. You see, this is where we’re on two totally different pages. I see more potential in you than that.

So if you’ll just listen to me this one time — one time is all I ask! — I know how we can make this better. For both of us. One step at a time.

Step No. 1: Implement Verification + Search

You’ve got a real problem with impostors, and there’s confusion in the marketplace because of that. True story example: Our official Colorado State Snapchat dealt with an issue in which a certain blog not worthy of mention advertised our account as being a username that wasn’t, in fact, our official account. And the content published on this advertised account did not represent our values, but people didn’t know which Colorado State account was the “real” one. An application for verification, similar to your geofilter application, ought to remedy this issue and allow certain brands, organizations, and institutions to maintain a reputable presence on your platform. On top of this, it’s difficult to build a follower base with the current app infrastructure. To add me, you require either the Snapcode or a manual add by typing the exact profile username. Could I get a search function that enabled keyword searches to find related accounts?

I feel like we’re making progress already.

Step No. 2: Enable Content Curation

As the voice of an institution, I don’t put my face on my Snapchat content, because I don’t want people to associate my face with the Colorado State brand. So I do my best to circumvent this, while still giving the CSU audience the “personal touch” that they crave, by repurposing user-generated content. What better way to showcase our campus to prospective students than by demonstrating campus life by those who live it everyday? I want to tell that collective story. But it’s against your terms of service to use third-party apps to upload content which has been shared with me. Right now, word on the street has it that the best way to showcase content is to screenshot the photo, send it to yourself, display it on another device, and then make an original Snap of that content. I got tired just from typing that sentence. You’d probably argue that there’s too much liability here — that this could get nasty when folks start publishing screenshotted content from their friends’ feeds. I agree. Only making this option available to verified accounts is the simple answer.

Step No. 3: Allow Custom Live Events

I know, I know. You’re going to tell me that this is a nightmare waiting to happen. Yet again, this is where verified accounts make perfect sense. I dream of the day when I can create a CSU Rams football Live Event at Hughes Stadium and curate the best content from pre-game tailgates, in-game scores, and after-party celebrations. I just can’t be everywhere, snapping photos of all things happening around campus. But with a vital component of the Snapchat experience being its instantaneous nature, the CSU Snapchat is losing opportunities to illustrate the best of Fort Collins, Colorado, without an easy way to showcase user-generated content. More Live Events means more chances for users to get featured on the “big story.” More attempts to make it onto the “big story” means more content and more frequent usage from your users. See how we could help each other out here? Win-Win.

Step No. 4: Show Me The Numbers, Baby

As much time as we spend together, I feel like I hardly know you. There has to be more to you under the surface. Something deeper. Like, maybe a follower count at the very least. Can I get some numbers up in here?

My last request of you is some meaningful analytics. Any analytics, really. Let’s be real: Your stats game is lacking. An open-rate percentage would help communicate whether the stories I’m telling through your platform are meaningful or not, and a total view count would really come in handy. We just need to communicate better, and if you aren’t willing to open up and let me take a look inside at what makes you you … well, we both know how this will end. At the end of the day, more data will only bring us closer together.

XOXO (I think),