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The whole purpose of social media platforms is to connect people in a way they couldn’t have before. I think Snapchat does that in a unique way. The original features of Snapchat include being able to send pictures and videos with the ability to add text or drawings to select contacts or your story. Having a story is unique because it is composed of videos or pictures you chose for everyone to see. Essentially, it can be used as story telling tool equipped with filters and geotags. The filters and geotags is what truly enhances the Snapchat experience. Every update the innovate and improve them. Geofilters however are something completely unique to the app. Similar to regular filters geofilters can be available after you take a picture or record a video and swipe to the right.

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Based on your location different geofilters are available. This addition is what really took Snapchat to another level. I remember driving down to Florida for a school trip and the whole way down my friends and I documented the trip in real time while also looking for geofilters in every state we passed through. Then in a new update app users were able to view something called started featuring things called Live Event Stories. With that feature anyone with the app can view stories from different events around the world such as Coachella, Tomorrowland, and even the Republican National Debate. These live event stories were composed of videos and pictures of people at these events picked by Snapchat employees for all to see.

Later on they started making  Live Event Stories more personable. Every week a new story would come up from a different cities and Countries. From Morocco to NYC. Kosovo to Egypt you get the opportunity to see and learn things about a culture you may not have known about before. It is not uncommon for people to include information about food, fashion, and sites to see in their country. This is where I get to the part where I talk about how having a Snapchat can make you a better human being.

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One thing that I think can be said about human beings is that sometimes it can be hard to empathizes with a cause or just people living a different life from you when you can’t put a face to it. I think in a way Snapchat can help with that. My favorite example of this is when I saw the Egyptian live story and you Egyptian guys were riding on camels in the desert an sitting around on one the pyramids of Gaza. I don’t know why but seeing that made me so happy, any time I see something about Egyptians on the news its negative. But here Snapchat was showing me these teens just being teens.

Most recently Snapchat included a live story for Hajj the Muslim pilgrimage. Watching the story became a fun learning experience. Snapchat included facts and figures about the even as well as pilgrims explaining customs in their snaps. Here I was looking through my phone across the world at people I had never met before. And then the next morning I woke up and saw the news saying there was a stampeded, and that 717 people had died at Hajj. I couldn’t help but think some of the people I watched in the live event story were some of the victims. Snapchat helped me put a face or in this case faces to an issue and because of that I was able to empathize more.

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Using it the right way Snapchat can be a sort of global community showing us that the only thing that separates college students in Long Island and teenagers in Egypt is geography.

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