Forbes writer J. J. Colao explains Snapchat to the suits.
The ubiquitous ghost that serves as the company’s mascot is known as “Ghostface Chillah”, a play on the stage name of former Wu-Tang Clan rapper Ghostface Killah -- because that’s what you name your mascot when you’re 22.
Oh, really. In order to pull off this kind of writing, Colao must toggle between the objective universal point of view, his own POV, and the POV of that 22 year old Snapchat inventor he is alternately slapping and pimping, for example:
Take Facebook, a $50 billion company built on the premise of connecting friends to each other. A funny thing has happened since the social network debuted in 2004—our friends stopped being themselves. “I don’t know about you but my friends are really weird,” says Spiegel. Yet all of their quirks have been lost in the rarefied air of social media, replaced by self-conscious, superhuman wits who trade in “envy me” scenes—sunsets and vacations, impossibly fun parties and gourmet dinners.
If you wanted a trusted real life friend to see a picture of you in the morning with your hair mussed you could just send an email attachment but venture capitalists and Forbes writers wouldn't find that very interesting. As implied by Bob Lefsetz (see earlier post), Snapchat is an invention of kids to stay one step ahead of adults (which now includes Facebook) in the "awkward photo"-sharing milieu. Wikipedia's description of Snapchat suggests an elaborate Rube Goldberg device for preserving spontaneity, in a John Nash "screw over your buddy" gaming world of ultimate distrust:
During the viewing period, the recipient must maintain contact with the device's touchscreen which inhibits taking a screenshot (which is allowed) and also notifies the sender if a recipient took a screenshot. Of course, this does not prevent the user from bypassing this mechanism by, for example, taking a picture of the phone with another camera or by disabling the notification (by modifying the snapchat binary). Furthermore, running the snapchat application in an emulator will bypass all restrictions. After the set time expires, the image is hidden from the devices and the company's servers. Users of this type of product must take into account that once data has been transmitted to a general purpose device owned by another user it will always be possible to recover said content if sufficient effort is expended.