Originally published on The Daily Orange.
During my ritual of unhealthily checking Snapchat every 20 minutes or so, I look at my screen and am disappointed that there are no new stories in my feed. As I contemplate rewatching my friends’ snapchat stories, a different story catches my eye: Dia de los Muertos, or “Day of the Dead.”
Snapchat has allowed its users to experience different cultures by personally connecting with each other through its “Live” story feed, also known as Our Story. Anyone who has the application can check in on events occurring around the world that Snapchat features, such as Dia de los Muertos. These event coverages are compiled from other Snapchat users’ videos and photos from that location to form one giant story. Snapchat’s live feed ranges from college sporting events to the cultural events such as the yearly Festival of Lights in India, also known as Diwali.
The addition of this feature has been an innovative new way to expose our generation to other cultures. But after using this feature for a few months, I am a little disappointed with the relatively low number of international live feeds. More often than not, the app shows live feeds of events happening in the United States. With the exception of Diwali, the World Cup, Dia de los Muertos, and a couple other stories from outside the U.S., there haven’t been many other worldwide events published on the feed. Snapchat can make Our Story even better by consistently streaming more international events or events that we wouldn’t be able to see from our regular Snapchat friends.
Although technology, current events, films and music are ways to connect people across different cultures and areas of the globe, Snapchat is doing this in a more personal and unique way. Instead of simply reading about the Melbourne Horse Races in Australia, or even watching a short video about it, the stories on Snapchat allow viewers to get a 10-second glance of a person interacting with family, friends and the environment around them.
The Our Story feature allows people from all over the world learn about things they may not have known about beforehand. For example, as a person who knows a lot about Mexican food but very little about the actual culture, tradition and celebrations, I didn’t know what Dia de los Muertos was until after seeing Snapchat’s live feed and Googling it myself. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one.
Snapchat recently has added more stories with the introduction of “Our Campus Story,” which allows students to post pictures and videos on this feed. Unlike the live feeds we see today, students who are actually on campus are the only ones who will be able to watch and post to this feed. This is a nice addition, but it still only shows us what we can already see from our friends.
The concept of a live feed has been a great start for Snapchat, especially in allowing millennials to collaborate and virtually interact with each other, but I hope the app develops this further, bringing in more events from different areas of the world such as countries in the Middle East, Europe and Africa, among other places. It would be extremely enlightening for American millennials to get a personal view of people their age recording videos on cultural celebrations.
Tamara Rasamny is a junior international relations and newspaper and online journalism dual major. Her column appears weekly. She can be reached at email@example.com.