A New Perspective on Storytelling: Snapchat’s Spectacles

Snapchat’s newest product, Spectacles, are the newer, cooler version of Google Glass. These sunglasses are an extension of Snapchat’s platform and are already gaining popularity through a scavenger-hunt marketing strategy used to sell them. This newest addition to the video-crazed social media world may be used as an influential tool for journalists and has considerable potential to change the way we tell stories.

“In recent years, the power of video has changed the way journalists package stories. The popularity of live streaming on Facebook, and even Instagram’s newest story feature for video, has taught journalists that our audience wants something different. It’s not about crafting a perfectly polished story anymore, that’s not the game anymore,” said Ekram Ibrahim, an associate producer at Middle East Broadcasting Network (MBN), in an interview with MediaFile. “Snapchat gives journalists a tool to be both professional and natural: the mix journalists are aiming for right now.”

According to the Spectacles website, these glasses make instantaneous, and now automatically saved, videos easier, faster and more natural. The sunglasses connect wirelessly through Bluetooth to your phone, adding 10-second videos to Memories in the Snapchat App simultaneously.

The homepage for Spectacles showcase the stylish fit of the lenses.

The homepage for Spectacles showcase the stylish fit of the lenses.

Hayley Tsukayama, a technology reporter at The Washington Post, noted, in an interview with MediaFile, that the entire point of Snapchat is that the footage disappears. However, Spectacles allow videos to be saved automatically; the tools of Snapchat have changed with Spectacles and give users more opportunity to record unobtrusively.

“If people are wearing the spectacles and they see something like a police beating or a robbery, that real time footage can be captured without being as obtrusive as taking out a phone,” Tsukayama said. “This subtle movement, literally recording what you see through your glasses, lowers a barrier journalists seek to lower.”

This new-product launch occurred in tandem with Snapchat’s Snap, Inc. introduction, the new parent camera company, expanding their reach from the popular social media app.

Tsukayama added that Snapchat is in a period where they are looking for growth, and Spectacles’ success or failure could transform a smaller platform to a larger one. “They still need a lot of user growth to begin with,” she said. “Spectacles are interesting…their success depends on how they can get it on other platforms.”

You can buy these sunglasses for $130 at kiosks located around the country. There is only one Snapbot vending machine for the Spectacles product so far, and it is currently located in Santa Monica, California. Snapchat’s new Spectacle-centric New York City shop is located on the southeast corner of Central Park, and it will be open from now until New Year’s Eve.

“The new Snap, Inc. launched Spectacles in a very interesting way. By not telling anyone where they are, using these pop-up stores, they got people more excited about their product,” said Tsukayama. “We’ve seen products like this before, like Google Glass, but despite having the pedigree of Google, the product didn’t last. It didn’t quite have the look or energy people wanted, and Spectacles do have a bit of style, which never hurts.”

Self-filmed video is gaining popularity on all social media platforms; however, Spectacles are just the next step in its growth. Both Tsukayama and Ibrahim insist that people are becoming more and more comfortable with live video. But how will the Snapchat’s bite-sized videos compare to the meal-sized live streams of Facebook and YouTube?

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