Has Snapchat truly discovered Discover?

Snapchat hopes to boost traffic for publishers on its Discover feature.(Photo: AdamPrzezdziek/Flickr under CC)

Snapchat hopes to boost traffic for publishers on its Discover feature.(Photo: AdamPrzezdziek/Flickr under CC)

Since its launch last January, Snapchat has been trying to make its Discover feature work when it comes to social journalism. It attracted the likes of many various publishers, from ESPN and CNN to Comedy Central.

Yet, traffic to those stories had been difficult to achieve, as users of the Los Angeles based social network had to seek out these channels through search, located in another screen. In addition, a selection of clips were only made available on the Stories page.

Now, Snapchat now wants to change that. According to a report from Recode, the company is looking to allow its users to subscribe directly to the content that is being made available, instead of going through the separate search methods. The ability to subscribe to that content would guarantee its appearance on the Stories page, the report adds.

While it is unclear how it would work (the Recode report suggests either deep links by the publishers themselves or push notifications by the social network to suggest new content is available), this is good news for publishers, and indeed Snapchat, as it tries to make a significant foray into the always evolving and competitive world of social media journalism.

Discover has over twenty publishers, and Snapchat has over 100 million active users.

The ultimate question for the platform is if chief executive Evan Spiegel and his colleagues will follow through with it, as suggestions have been made the change could happen as soon as May. If Snapchat is to market itself as viable for journalism on social, especially for younger audiences, it is essential that this move is done as soon as possible.

Once that move is done, there is potential for credibility to be gained amid competition from Facebook and Twitter. If not, it may prove fatal and may see a decline in users for Snapchat, as well as publishers severing their ties in the hopes to find better ways to engage new audiences.

For now, the next move goes to Snapchat, in the hopes that it will truly discover not just the purpose of Discover, but the reason why it entered the world of social media in the first place.

Alex Veeneman, a Chicago based SPJ member and founder of SPJ Digital, is SPJ’s Community Coordinator and is a contributing blogger to Net Worked on social media’s role in the future of journalism. 

Outside of SPJ, Veeneman is Long Form Editor and a contributing writer for Kettle Magazine, an online publication in the UK. You can interact with Veeneman on Twitter here.

The views expressed in this blog post unless otherwise specified are that of the author’s, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SPJ Digital community, the board and staff of the Society of Professional Journalists, or its members.

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