TrendsSnapchat launches a new online magazine, “Real Life”

Ilaria Trapuzzano7 years ago8 min


It’s official, Snapchat becomes an editor. The popular ghost app launches today  Real Life, an online magazine focused on technology. Nathan Jurgenson, sociologist and theorist and new chief editor of the magazine, Snapchat’s researcher studying how social media influence society and vice versa, he gave the news.

“Not a news website with gadget reviews and rumors” specifies Jurgenson, but a daily newspaper that will talk about “how we live today and how our lives are mediated by devices”, covering themes like privacy and human relations.

A digital dualism between online and offline that the researcher tries to explain starting from the 1983 cult movie by David Cronenberg “Videodrome”, that focuses on the theme of body mutation and fusion between humans and technology. Today, after 30 years, this fusion, applied to the web, concerns social media technologies “something implosive, interpenetrative, bloody and breathing, not something virtual, separate, or parallel, far away and cold as outer space”. This duo, explained Jurgenson, will we explained daily with essays, articles and stories.

Besides, the most important of the many contributions that Videodrome left to the digital culture is the “media convergence”. Content crossing media, adapting and reconfiguring in new contests. A concept that seems to be the base of Snapchat: born as a private messaging, becoming an app of personal storytelling and now a real media narrowcasting thanks to the Discover section. Real Life seems to go a step further, beyond the app.

From Google to Facebook, information is social

Information is opening more and more to social network and this is certainly not a news. From Digital News Initiative and Instant Articles, Google and Facebook are investing billions in the publishing industry, a sector that seems too far aways from their core businesses. The truth is, as the Reuters Institute of Oxford reported, that information is becoming more and more digital, mobile and social. More than 50% of the sample analyzed uses social network as a source for news, overcoming television.

But there is a question with Snapchat, why a “fun social”, a container of weird things, pics and video shared mostly by teens, decided to invest in a magazine like this.

Snapchat and news

The matter is interesting for two main reason. The first one is that the immediate messaging system, loved by Millenials and suspicious according to adults, has the possibility to access to a younger audience, more and more difficult to reach with usual information systems.


The second reason is the will of Snapchat to attract a more adult audience, the one frightened by the its unusual “grammar”. Evan Spiegel’s app in the last few months reached 10 million active users daily, 10 million more than Twitter.

Now, in Spiegel’s goal, there could be making a jump towards a more mature audience, that is still not engaged and that is very keen on news channels.

For Snapchat, there’s the possibility to expand its market, to enter in the information world, competing with Facebook. Compared to Zuckerberg’s company, Snapchat will make the information, and this is not something to underestimate.

Whatever are Snapchat’s reasons, something is sure: Spiegels’s fun social network has great publishing possibilities and it could expand to other digital areas…

Could it be the beginning of a new project, maybe with a desktop version too?

Ilaria Trapuzzano

“Il vero viaggio non consiste nel cercare nuove terre, ma nell’avere nuovi occhi” – M. Proust. Nata e cresciuta nel giornalismo televisivo, convertita al digitale per scelta inseguendo la voglia di sperimentare diverse forme di narrazione. Racconto la realtà attraverso una nuova prospettiva professionale e di vita, cercando ispirazione nelle cose universalmente belle: viaggi, cibo e buon vino.


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