According to a recent study, the communication experience on Snapchat is more positive than Facebook and other social media. Researchers at the University of Michigan used “experience sampling” on 154 college students.
They measured how the college students felt after using a social media platform by texting them six times a day for two weeks, asking questions such as “How pleasant or unpleasant was your most recent interaction?” and “How close are you to that person?”
Aside from face-to-face interaction, the study found that the most “rewarding” communication occurred through Snapchat.
Joseph Bayer, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Communication Studies at the University of Michigan and the study’s lead author, said: ”On the surface, many people view Snapchat as the ‘sexting app,”
“But instead, we found that Snapchat is typically being used to communicate spontaneously with close friends in a new and often more enjoyable way,” he said.
“At the same time, Snapchat interactions were perceived as having less social support than other social media. These findings open up important questions about the benefits and costs of different social media,” he added.
The findings of the study indicate that one of the main reasons that users have a better experience on Snapchat is because of fewer “self-presentational” concerns, such as users not worrying so much about how they look in a photo.
Snapchat is one of the most popular “ephemeral social media” platforms. Messages sent via Snapchat only appear for 10 seconds before disappearing.
The researchers found that people paid more attention to their Snapchat messages compared to other platforms.
“If ephemeral social media are garnering a more concentrated form of attention, then Snapchat may also stand out from other social media to advertisers,” Bayer said.
We underestimate the value of experiences. A well thought out conversation delivers on many levels, including the emotional sphere. That hard-to-reach spot between fuzzy feeling and moved to tears is the core of how we operate in the real world.
It is thus not surprising that seasoned pros would seek situations where they get to experience feeling their way through what they think about — this is how good conversation works.
Terry Gross, host of Fresh Air, has mastered the art of opening up. Her guests relish the opportunity to experience what it’s like to have that kind of interview:
Matthew Weiner, the creator of ‘‘Mad Men,’’ has been among the most frequent guests on ‘‘Fresh Air.’’ He imagined being interviewed by Gross years before it first happened, and once it did, ‘‘you’re like: Oh, this is my fantasy of a conversation,’’ Weiner told me. ‘‘I’m not even talking about people hearing it. I’m talking about actually having the conversation.’’
‘‘Having the conversation’’ — that’s what’s compelling about the wish. It’s a wish not for recognition but for an experience. It’s a wish for Gross to locate your genius, even if that genius has not yet been expressed. It’s a wish to be seen as in a wish to be understood.
In a world that has alas celebrated the extinction of the verb ‘‘to listen’’ what is left is visual enslavement. In such a world, radio is a last oasis, a natural environment where among bushes and stones one can still find everything — literature and gossip, from Cole Porter to Puccini, from politics to some extinct musical form. On the radio, it is still possible to find words offered to the listener with that tact that TV abhors.
Carlo Emilio Gadda was an engineer from Milan who worked in Italy, Belgium and Argentina. He became a full time writer around 1940 in Florence and then in the 1950s in Rome, where he worked for RAI (Italian National TV). In 1953, when RAI asked him to write up a compendium of “Policies for Radio Programming”, Gadda wrote:
‘‘Radio listeners are not a ‘public’, so to speak. In truth, they are ‘single people’… every listener is alone… sitting in their own armchair, after having captured the essence… the noble act of listening, he/she is bound to the secret susceptibility of being able to get irritated by the inopportune tone of a catechizing radio apparatus.
It is therefore better that the voice, and the text entrusted to it, avoid all those mannerisms that provoke the idea of a condescending tone, an imparted lesson, a sermon, a message coming from on high. It is equal to equal, free citizen to free citizen, thinking brain to thinking brain.’’
Equal to equal, with the freedom to think along the person thinking out loud — thinking brain to thinking brain. This more nuanced form of experience is likely one of the reasons behind the renaissance of podcasts.
It takes practice and a highly developed sense of timing to create these kinds of conversations. From the NYT article:
Over the years, Gross has done some 13,000 interviews, and the sheer range of people she has spoken to, coupled with her intelligence and empathy, has given her the status of national interviewer. Think of it as a symbolic role, like the poet laureate — someone whose job it is to ask the questions, with a degree of art and honor.
In a culture in which we are all talking about ourselves more than ever, Gross is not only listening intently; she’s asking just the right questions.