Snapchat is the OG of “stories,” around long before Instagram and Facebook adopted their own version of the 24-hour memoir. When I first discovered the creative control and detail I could put into one story, I spent hours staging baking snaps or recording myself in fast forward while singing to Billy Joel. It was just me and Snapchat—I was smitten long before I got my hands on a pair of Spectacles.
Snapchat’s strategic and ingenious launch of the video-recording sunglasses had their audience doing all of the promotional legwork. At first, they dropped bright yellow vending machine “bots” around the country one at a time, and had fans traveling and waiting in line for the limited number of Spectacles. Now you can order them online. The product itself is not the first of its kind (remember Google Glass?), but Snapchat took an interactive and engaging approach with their marketing, creating hype and urgency, and therefore they had a slam dunk of a product launch. As a longtime lover of the Snapchat app, I was already on board with the new specs, but when I had a chance to try out a pair of the elusive peepers (thanks, boss), I was surprised by how I used them.
The shades have a fun look, are simple to use, and pair easily with your phone. Within minutes, I was recording video FROM MY FACE. Walking about town, I hit a tiny button next to my left eye and...magic. I was collecting content, hands-free, in 10 second bites, and was still engaging with people around me. As a visual junkie, I’m always taking pictures and documenting my life (as any self-respecting Millennial who works in social media would do), but with my specs, I wasn’t experiencing my day through the lens of my phone, I was interacting with the world.
Video recorded through the Spectacles streams to your Snapchat app via bluetooth. You can then post the videos directly to your story or save them to your camera roll. It’s a surprise every time you open the app to look at the latest download of videos. I encountered a slight learning curve on how to best position myself and my subject for an ideal recording, but after a day or so of using the glasses, I picked up tricks for the perfect video. Like the company’s original mission, the content is organic and raw, and has Evan Spiegel all over it.
What surprised me the most? I took videos and more videos. I showed off the crazy glasses at an event and recorded even more hilarious videos of people amazed and unaware that I was recording them. But once I downloaded all of my fisheyed, first person, day-in-the-life content, I POSTED THEM ALL ON INSTAGRAM.
What does this mean? I felt like I was cheating on Snapchat, but, I have more followers on Instagram, so for marketing purposes it made more sense to post the videos on the platform where I have the most visibility. And our clients have more followers on Instagram. Within three months of launching IG stories, the number of story users surpassed Snapchat’s. While Spectacles are fun and hyped like hell, will they help Snapchat build the user base it needs?
Probably not. (Though Kaleigh disagrees.)
That said, I’ll keep snapping.
By Chelsea Keeney
Chelsea has more ideas than she knows what to do with. Admittedly, she hates free time and receives frequent visits from insomnia, resulting in many fond evenings sipping Amaro while concocting weird side projects to overload her schedule like Ramen Mafia and Hot Shot Baristas. She is a self-proclaimed creative mastermind (aka narcissist).