Many of you may know that for the last few months or so, I have been looking for people who show their work on Snapchat. I recently wrote about it in my blog post titled: Reflections of Snapchat Through Facebook Mutterings.
You might ask, why did I do this? The answer is that I didn’t start off this way. In all honesty, I revisited the app on my phone a few months ago with the intention of committing adequate time to it to really understand it fully – much like I had done the same with Twitter some years ago.
I felt that as a learning practitioner and consultant, I owed it to myself and my clients to understand how this tool works, where it can be applied, how I can use it for various contexts, why people would want to use it and to what audience it may be best suited for.
After all, when you see data that says that 77% of college students use the platform once per day and with the heaviest usage among individuals between the ages of 12 and 34 (eMarketer) and that by 2020, almost half of the workplace will be made up by Millenials (PWC report Millennials at Work: Reshaping The Workplace ), it would have been remiss of me to discount these numbers and ignore a trend that will be impacting (if it hasn’t already done so) how the majority of young people work, connect and learn with each other. If anything, it has shown me the vast gap between how people are communicating with each other inside and outside of organisations.
The easiest thing would have been to discount the tool and put it in the ‘too hard’ basket to learn or even consider how it can be used for personal or professional development. When there’s 100 million daily users who use it for up to 25-30 minutes per day with 6 billion views of video, why would you ignore this and jeopardise your business, defy an opportunity to understand a customer group or even a potential new personal or professional development tool?
So I started to use, research and explore the various functions of the tool. I pored over articles, references, blog posts and videos. I’ve lost count on the number of people I followed and unfollowed. It’s been a long and laborious discovery process with many hours watching snaps and personally connecting with strangers to seek, find and ask them on recommendations for following. Unlike other social media, you cannot see who others are following and picking people to follow is time intensive. There is a level of commitment required to curate accounts that are specific for your needs. In effect, think about it in a way that you’re curating your own television channels and creating your own playlist of people who snap. (The various functions of Snapchat and how they can be used in a learning context is another blog post in itself and I will not go into it here).
While I was watching and personally connecting with these strangers, a funny thing was happening. The rapport and connection were quicker to establish than they had ever been on Twitter (certainly LinkedIn pales into insignificance when it comes to this aspect). Over Twitter, it took some time to build trust possibly because the communication was via the written form. There was a level of effort required to read their blog posts, comment on blog posts and establish trust over a longer period of time.
In Snapchat, the communication is with text, audio, video or annotation – or a blend of them all. The communication between people is more authentic and one-to-one as it allows normal every day conversation to happen between individuals. We can see their face, we can hear their voice. We can see their work. We can see their life.
In a way, I believe that this tool is probably going to irk many marketers. Why? Because you can easily get the ‘feeling’ of someone and if you don’t come across as authentic or genuine, it’s unlikely you’ll get any attention. (Also there are no vanity metrics; no profiles; or information on who people are following. You need to build that trust).
So who am I watching?
As well as watching people who use Snapchat to comment on the absurdities and observations of everyday life with their dry wit and humour, (people like Aaron Adel @BizAaron, @NickJRishwain, Chris Baierman @Baierman and Cammy Murray @CammySutra6 are on my daily watch list for a laugh) or those who use the tool to express their creativity, there are others who use the tool to share and show their work day.
When I watch Snaps, I want to come away with being educated. If I can get one helpful tip or screenshot something that I can put into immediate action for my own work, then I consider Snapchat a learning tool because it’s helped me in my work in some way.
For example, if someone shares the list of people they follow who share their work; or share a bullet list of articles or a helpful resource to follow, I’ll take a screenshot and follow it through. Others have shared links to their presentations or practice their keynotes and seek feedback.
All in all, don’t feel compelled that you need to watch everything that people share. The best snap chatters are the ones who broadcast from the day before or in their opening snap provide a bullet list of topics they’re going to talk about so that you can choose to tune in on that day or swipe away and give them a miss. The control is in your hands.
(However, please note that you will also see snippets of their daily lives – for example, watch them on their weekends off. If this is not something you want to see, then don’t watch them or quickly tap through the story or swipe them away. There’s also time zones! Interesting work snaps will occur during different time zones so you will see people going on about their daily lives at different times of your own day. Once again, the control is in your hands.
Here’s a sample of SOME of the Snapchatters I’m following.
I have not included the many organisations and government institutions who are using this tool to show their viewers behind the scenes of their building and programs (and from my perspective are all run by what seems to be their graduates or interns in their marketing departments) nor the educators who are using this tool to present classroom material to their students. (Once again, these could be separate blog posts in themselves).
Who Are The Snapchatters Who Show their Work?
Justin Wu (Hackapreneur)
Justin was one of the first people I followed. He’s the founder of Growth.Ly and he uses Snapchat as a way to broadcast and educate how he does his work as an information architect. He shares lots of helpful tips, hints, techniques, lists and advice to people and his snaps are rich in value if you’re looking to explore this subject. What I love about Justin’s snaps is that he shares his personal story of the ups and downs of his start-ups. He’s a young man who is resilient to the fluctuations in business and shares in a genuine and quiet manner. He’s someone who actively works out loud and even encourages people to “Share Their Progress” and to be continually learning.
Angela Hursh (Content Team Leader @Webmastergirl)
Angela works at the Cincinnati Library and every day she welcomes us to the new day. We then see her choose a long lost forgotten book from the basement shelves and flick through the pages. What I like about Angela’s snaps is the daily surprise of what book she will share that day.
Chris Marr (Content Marketer and Founder of Content Marketing Academy @ChrisMarr101)
Chris was one of the first Snapchatters I followed. Based in Scotland, he consistently snaps every day and is an example of a Snapchatter who doesn’t need fancy filters or creative annotation to share his key message. He regularly shares content throughout the entire day from morning through to the end of his day. What I love about Chris is that he is so open and generous with sharing his ideas and plans about his business. Warts and all. He talks about what he is planning for his Content Marketing Academy and regularly shares great hints and tips for things we should be considering in our own business. At one stage, he snapped the entire process of how he planned and implemented a major event he held on Content Marketing and we got to see the lead-up, the actual event and the debrief and learning from it.
Tien Wong (Entrepreneur CEO Angel Investor @tienwong)
Tien recently wrote an article on 10 Ways to Leverage Snapchat in Business and he’s certainly someone to follow because he sees the business value of this tool. We follow Tien around his business, meetings and presentations and events and interviews many people in business and start-up space. In particularly, he snaps the younger people in his office and asks them to share what they learned this week or a helpful and educational tip for everyone. He starts his snaps with an inspirational quote and like many others, uses minimal, filters and annotations.
Dr Cameron Jones (Biological Health Services @drcameronjones)
Where do I start with Cameron? Personally, I find his snaps the most educational, enthralling and also intriguing to follow. I have learned more about mould spore and growth in the last few months than I ever have in years. Certainly, his snaps when he was testing an illegal crystal meth laboratory in the suburbs had me on the edge of my seat. It was rivetting viewing to watch him go through rooms where bikies used to hang out and I had images of ‘Sons of Anarchy’ in my head as he showed us around the various rooms swabbing walls, windows and sinks for evidence of the illicit drugs. If microbiology was as half as exciting as Cameron’s snaps are, I would have stuck with this subject through my undergraduate years. Now I see what I have been missing. Cameron crawls into cupboards and roof spaces in search of mould. We watch him swab, check and test. We exclaim with joy with him when he finds it, mould removed and there is a happy customer. There is always a smile at the end (you will need to watch to know what I mean).
David Holzmer (Behaviourist)
When I first stumbled upon David’s snaps I was immediately intrigued. Here was someone who was talking about the challenges I was coming up against in organisations. David is a business consultant who is currently completing a PhD where his dissertation is on embracing disruption and how to enable organisations make sense of change through collaborative sensemaking. He makes personal connections with people who follow him and is eager and open to having conversations about this topic. David role models authentic and genuine conversations on Snapchat and never fails to reply personally to comments. I had a wonderful chat with him on Skype as we discussed areas of mutual interest in our work. I highly recommend that you read his blog Gonna Grow Wings if you’re interested in the future of work.
Ai Zhang (Rock Your Career @aiaddysonzhang)
I found Ai through David’s recommendation. Ai Zhang is a Public Relations university lecturer and teaches her student the value of social media for their professional and personal development. What I love about her snaps are that they are simple, clear and consistent messages on the value of community. Ai weaves in her personal stories of her Chinese heritage, art, tradition with her work and life in America and somehow, everything just magically connects with a key message that leaves you inspired. Ai’s stories resonate with my own stories of the value of social media for building networks and community that enable you to personally grow.
Mitchell Dillman (Wood and Metal Work Artist)
Every time I watch Mitchell turn wood and create stunning works of art using timber found from burned forests, I fear for him. I wonder how he snaps while working on machinery such as soldering irons and chainsaws at the same time. Mitchell snaps through this day at the Colorado Springs Saw Mills and shows us his workshop, the tools he uses, the orders for chairs and art works he receives and how he makes them. Through the course of the day, we watch him build the furniture as well as explain what he is doing and why he is doing it in that particular manner. Watching Mitchell reminds me of watching my own father in his workshop studio – watch any passionate artist in his own space creating artworks and you’ll understand what I mean.
Mark Suster (Entrepreneur @msuster)
Mark is another Snapchatter I followed religiously from the start. He shares advice on fundraising, entrepreneurship, and business to startups. He is another example of someone who doesn’t overuse the filter or annotation and uses clear, concise 10 second bursts of valuable information. Every snap is like a dot point of great content. He shares his thoughts, experiences, stories and presentations. All his snaps are so valuable that he even has dedicated a specific site Snapstorms to them.
JoeWilsonTV (Writer, Director & StoryTeller @JoeWilsonTV)
Every day I delight in watching Joe’s snaps and avidly look out for them on the Snapchat timeline. His snaps are not only hilarious to watch because they’re so creative, many times there’s an underlying story that is thought-provoking even if the delivery is amusing. What I particularly liked about his snaps are the ones where he explains the creative process of filmmaking or story telling. Check out his Confessions of a Story Teller videos on his YouTube channel because their messages also to apply to many of us trying to make sense in a crazy world of work. He believes we all can create stories and it’s the best time (ie. now) to do them as we have a variety of tools to create them.
Suzanne Nguyen (Snapchat and Marketing Consultant @String_Story)
Suzanne is a thought leader and expert in Snapchat. Many businesses ask her advice and training on how to best use this tool to promote their brands. I had the pleasure of meeting her recently in Melbourne with another snapchatter, Community Manager Kellie Barnes (@Kellos) where she gave us additional coaching on the tool. What I like about Suzanne’s snaps are that every day, she educates and informs us on how to best use the tool. For example, every Monday she’ll talk about Snapchat; on Tuesday, she shares a tech tip. She explained to me that Snapchat is her personal broadcast channel and that she shares consistent information to her viewers and followers that add value to their business.
Sean M Mitchell (Sales @seanmmitchell)
Sean is a sales guy and shares his own tips and information of the sales process. He snaps before work or upcoming meetings and gives us a debrief of them afterwards. He hardly, if ever, uses any filters or annotations. Once again, it’s more about the key educational messages in his snaps. Through Sean, I have learned some tips to consider when it comes to solving problems for my clients. He is passionate and enthusiastic for his job and you can tell that he loves being in sales. You can’t help but like people who share their passion with others.
Jason Vanderstelt (Property Developer @javan2go)
Jason is a property developer in Charlotte Michigan and one of the first people I followed. What I love about Jason’s snaps are that he openly shares his work and takes us around various properties in the local area. He explains the work that is currently being done on them and plans for development and advertising. He snaps his colleagues who also share stories and what they are doing as well as his community service work.
I have only followed this Andrzejkrzywda for a very short while and at first viewings of his snaps, I must admit that the value is not for me but it could be for other computer developers and programmers. We watch Andrzejkrzywda solve coding and programming errors on software as he explains what he is doing. As I’m not a programmer, I can’t understand what he is trying to see but his snaps have given me an insight into what a programmer does behind the scenes!
Jackie (Accountant at Your Back Office)
Jackie is an accountant in California and helps her clients who are mainly in the creative industries with all matters related to taxation, compliance and finances. Jackie uses Snapchat as a means to reflect on the opportunities and challenges in her work and openly asks questions to her viewers to engage. Her posts are mainly observations and reflections of her work and the industries she works for and with.
Phillip Wong (Accounting Lecturer @Tetracarbon)
I knew Phillip from way back but I have recently started following him on Snapchat as he too experiments and works out loud on this platform. He is currently writing a textbook and he is using Snapchat to share his ideas, thoughts and presentations of accounting topics for development and feedback. He’s great to follow if you want accounting explained in simple and easy to understand terms. I highly recommend his YouTube Channel too.
Michelle Ockers (Learning and Development @MichelleOckers)
I was delighted to see Michelle follow me on Snapchat (as I do for any friend who follows me on any social media!!) and then I followed her back immediately. I loved Michelle’s snaps during her work day where she shared video and photos of what problem she was solving for that day. She recently wrote an article Trying Out Snapchat for Professional Development where she explains her process and experience of the tool. She also writes the various functions and uses of the tool. She is currently undertaking the Shannon Tipton’s Learning Rebels 30 Day Challenge and sharing her daily reflections on her YouTube Channel as well. I highly recommend you follow Michelle as she actively works out loud, shares her work and openly reflects across various social media channels.
Next Steps for Me and Snapchat? Or is that Snapchat and I?
I’m enjoying using Snapchat as a visual diary of my day and as a record of my working out loud.
As someone who is a little bit creative naturally, I also like the ease in which I can create instant snaps and add them to the storyline in chronological order using artwork, music and text. In a way, Snapchat solves my problem of creating daily vlogs using iMovie (as an example, the short 6-8 minute videos I was creating usually took me 3 hours of editing in iMovie – Snapchat cuts editing time down drastically).
Other than that, I’ve already discussed with a couple of people to undertake Snaptakeovers of their accounts (where we take over each other’s account) which will also share my profile however, building followers not a priority for me as much as I need a tool where I can capture my thoughts, share my work and keep a record of it in a chronological story line and which doesn’t take hours to edit.
I would like to continue to use this tool to share my own educational snippets and daily content mainly as a development tool for me (as it forces me to present information succinctly in 10 seconds) as well as a practice for public speaking tool.
I’ve also started creating an outline of a workshop and webinar for “How to Use Snapchat to Share Your Work” for those businesses and organisations who would like to explore how to enable their people to use this tool in their own business.
If you’re interested to learn more about this tool and how to use it in different ways then contact me for more details. I’ll have information about this under the ‘Workshops’ tab in this website.