Snapchat has begun rolling out Memories, a new feature that, depending on your point of view, adds to the app or chips away at something unique to the platform: impermanence.
Users will now be able to save their snaps and stories to Memories, find them again by opening Memories (located under the camera button) and scrolling or typing keywords, and re-snap them to your friends. (Older snaps will have a frame around them, so nobody will be fooled into thinking you're posting something super fresh). As users get comfortable with repurposing old content, will we start seeing something akin to the #tbt (Throwback Thursday) trend on Instagram? Don't be surprised.
Learn more about Snapchat (and Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) at PR News' Big 4 Social Media Summit and Visual Storytelling Boot Camp, which will be held Aug. 9-10 in San Francisco.
Curiously, one of the biggest game-changers of the update is glossed over in Snapchat's blog post: When you open Memories, you'll not only be allowed to choose from your previous snaps, but also from your device's camera roll. This means that carefully composing an image with an outside application and then posting it to Snapchat is now possible. Will this put more pressure on brands and other prominent Snapchat communicators to make use of slick visuals? Or will pre-composing and then snapping from Memories come to be perceived as lame try-hardism that misses the point of Snapchat?
A related and bigger question: Does this whole update take away from the ephemeral charm of Snapchat? Considering that snaps and stories still disappear after a day and that a user must take active steps to make his or her past content visible again, probably not. It's still the here-today-gone-tomorrow platform, and thus still unique among its sister platforms, where users drag around an archived history like a ball and chain.
Follow Ian: @ianwright0101