With social media in Uganda being used for all sorts of reasons both good and bad, I am always surprised that we have not yet been caught up in the Snapchat frenzy that is popular with the youth (not NRM youth age) in the Western world. The most common social media platforms in Uganda include Whats App, Facebook, Instagram and Viber. For the past two months, I have used the Snapchat app, but all my efforts of convincing my colleagues to actively hop onto the one man bandwagon have been futile. So since, there is no single friend of mine using this platform, this limits me to only following my friends who are “outside countries” (in the diaspora).
Okay, let me get every one caught up here, Snapchat (Android and iOS) just like Instagram is a photo messaging application developed in 2011 by three Stanford University students. With this app, users can take photos, record videos, add text and drawings, and send them to a controlled list of recipients. These sent photographs and videos are known as “Snaps”. Users set a time limit for how long recipients can view their Snaps. According to Snapchat in May 2014, the app’s users were sending 700 million photos and videos per day, and this is a huge number compared to Instagram’s over 60 million photos in the same period. Why the social media loving Ugandans are not part of these Snapchat statistics –still baffles me– so I set out to ask most of my friends why they don’t use Snap Snapchat and here are the top 4 major reasons they gave?
Yes, even after 4 years in operation, Snapchat has hardly gained any traction for Ugandan social media fanatics simply because they don’t know it. And the few who do, find it difficult to explain to others especially when it comes to the part of convincing someone why its a better option to the existing platforms. Trust me, I tried but all in vain.
Data hogging Platform
With WhatsApp and Instagram already sucking people’s monthly data plans dry, adding another platform that will basically do a similar thing is hard to put up with, especially with a monthly tight budget. The benefits of using WhatsApp or Instagram for a common wanayichi (lay-man) simply out-way those of spending data snap-chatting. “With an average 25MB data budget per-day Snapchat simply just doesn’t fly for me”, a colleague of mine told me.
Default content you can discover on Snapchat
Quorum & Content
As I said before, (feel free to follow me at @snapbambino) I have few friends from Uganda using Snapchat, we are simply not interested in the platform. Even Telegram picked up faster that this. Apart from the few people I follow, I use Snapchat to discover content from the big media publications who have accounts like CNN, Food Network (yes, I love food), MTV and Yahoo News, for my daily consumption of current events. We are yet to see if local media will pick up with the Snapchat trend but I cant hold my breathe on that one. Uganda or can I say most countries in Africa don’t fancy Snapchat yet so the content is just not there yet.
Now, here is the tricky thing about Snapchat, after 24 hours all your photos and videos are no more. Yes, all those sex tapes and nude pics you so love to share, will no longer be accessible by your followers. “The joy of having to refer back to the memorable photos and videos is not there which is inconvenient since making the content also takes time”, one of my friends told me.
So, there you go , this is simply not our go to social media platform for now. Whether it will pick up in Uganda anytime soon is yet to be determined. If you have any other other reason why you don’t use or you have uninstalled the Snapchat app? Feel free to leave a comment below.