Why you should be on Snapchat . . . and who to follow.

I’ll admit that I was late to the Snapchat party. While I created my account in 2013, it largely sat unused as I suffered from the usual networking problem of not knowing enough teens to text. Recently, I was reintroduced to Snapchat by my favourite technology-culture website The Verge who ramped up their use of the ephemeral messaging platform to cover CES. And now, with the introduction of Discover, I’m proud to say I’m a Snapchat convert.

Earning the title of fastest growing app in 2014, as reported by GlobalWebIndex, Snapchat quickly shook up the balance of power between popular social media platforms; Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. The value of Snapchat came from it’s introduction of artificial scarcity, allowing users to send video & photo messages that disappear one to ten seconds after your friend receives them. The idea proved incredibly powerful amongst a younger crowd who instantly saw the appeal of expressing yourself without having to worry about long-term consequences.

That shake up seems only set to continue in 2015, with Snapchat’s update this week. The latest add-on to the Snapchat app, Discover presents daily bite-sized content (both videos and articles) from traditional media outlets such as CNN, ESPN and National Geographic – bridging the gap between old school journalism and a youthful, tech-savvy audience.

The Discover product focuses on a daily feed of curated media content tailored for the Snapchat audience. As Snapchat puts it:

“Social media companies tell us what to read based on what’s most recent or most popular. We see it differently. We count on editors and artists, not clicks and shares, to determine what’s important.”

The ephemeral nature of posts also remains, with each feed refreshing once every 24 hours, eliminating the mental pressure that can come from other platforms creating a feeling of need to catch up on every post.

Of course, the publications are supporting their activity with advertising – potentially scaring off a few – but also opening the door for a wider acceptance of branded presences on the platform. To date, precious few campaigns have been executed on the network. Fast Company recently rounded up their favourites.

In the meantime, if you’re looking to join in on the Snapchat party, you’ll need a few followers. Here’s my list of the best accounts to follow:

1. washingtonpost

The Washington Post has been experimenting with Snapchat this year, using the photo and video sharing platform to cover everything from the Super Bowl and a performance of the Nutcracker at the Kennedy Centre, to crowd sourcing snaps during cold weather and the 2014 election.

2. therealverge

The Verge is a online news site that covers the intersection of technology, science, art and culture. They’ve got a great approach to technology and geek culture, with the introduction of their Snapchat account cementing their influence in the tech scene.

3. jeromejarre

The Vine star and viral video creator has already amassed a following of 1.5 million at last count. Jarre is extremely popular among the meme-savvy set, with over eight million people following him on Vine.

4. girlshbo

Being one of the first TV series to pick up on the power of Snapchat, HBO’s ‘Girls’ use the platform to post quotes, behind the scenes photos and reminders and previews. Their younger demographic are certainly fans of their choice of social media platform.

5. ryanseacrest

The popular TV and radio host uses Snapchat to give his followers an exclusive look at some of entertainment’s biggest events and the big celebrity names that go with them. Capturing hilarious backstage moments and slip-ups with big name stars, Ryan is definitely worth following.

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