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Snapchat Tests Group Storytelling, Connecting Nearby Snapchatters

Alyssa Bereznak
National Correspondent, Technology
Yahoo Tech

Snapchat, the popular ephemeral messaging app, tried a new location-based feature over the weekend that registers the snaps of other people around you at a particular location or event and combines them to tell one cohesive Snapchat narrative. 

Dubbed Our Story, the tool works as an extension of one of Snapchat’s existing features, My Story. That feature strings together the photos and videos that one person takes throughout the day into one continuous clip, which lives within the app for 24 hours before disappearing.

Our Story is like My Story, except that it uses the content created by multiple Snapchatters in a single location. The app then automatically splices together those photos and videos into a single “Story,” with content from the various Snapchatters in a certain place or at a specific event.

This is Snapchat’s first foray into public sharing. It also hints at how Snapchat might plan to expand from a private messaging app to a full-blown social network that can compete with the likes of Facebook and Instagram.

Per the company’s blog post:

“My Story has always represented a singular, personal experience. We wanted to build something that offered a community perspective — lots of different points of view. After all, our friends often see the same things in totally different ways.”

Promoted in tandem with the Electric Daisy Carnival (an electronic music festival popular among the youths), the feature culls together the snaps from all your friends at one event. The option to share your images or videos through the Our Story tool are tied to a specific location, which is already built into the app. For instance, the story below is specifically called “Our EDC Story.” It uses a location-awareness technology called geofencing to detect who actually attended the EDC festival at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway grounds and offered only those people the option to submit to the Story. (Snapchat was quick to say that it doesn’t store your location).

Screenshot of Our Story

(Via Snapchat’s YouTube video) 

So say a bunch of your friends are at a concert that you couldn’t make it to, but they’re Snapchatting from the event using the tool. You’ll be able to see their photos and video presented in one montage, which, as Snapchat says, “makes you feel like you’re right there.”

Snapchat only just premiered the tool at EDC, and hasn’t announced any other plans to disperse it on a wider basis. But Our Story could very well be a step toward more public sharing options within the historically private app. It could also be used to help Snapchat cozy up with advertisers; the Our Story feature could be used to tout a special event, a retail experience, or any other kind of business where people often take photos or video. 

Snapchat didn’t indicate that it would use Our Story for advertising and stressed that the EDC experiment was not an advertising event but rather a “cool experience for the community.”

Either way, watch for your opportunity to add to the collective Snapchat story in the coming weeks. After all, a company (probably) doesn’t spend the resources and time to build an entire tool for just one weekend.

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