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"What do they snapchat about?" Patterns of use in time-limited instant messaging service

Piwek, Lukasz; Joinson, Adam


Lukasz Piwek


© 2015 Elsevier Ltd. The use of Snapchat - a time-limited instant messaging service - has been rapidly rising amongst adolescents. However, the exact nature of Snapchat use remains difficult to examine due to the self-destructive nature of content sent and received via this service. We report an online survey conducted with the use of a memory sampling method to enquire about the specific details of the very last image or video each participant sent and received via Snapchat. We found that users mainly share 'selfies', typically embed text and 'doodles' with photos they share, use it mostly at home, and primarily for communication with close friends and family as an 'easier and funnier' alternative to other instant messaging services. We also found that high intensity of Snapchat use was more associated with bonding rather than bridging social capital. We discuss those findings in the context of existing studies on the use of instant messaging services and social networking sites.


Piwek, L., & Joinson, A. (2016). "What do they snapchat about?" Patterns of use in time-limited instant messaging service. Computers in Human Behavior, 54, 358-367.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 1, 2015
Online Publication Date Aug 23, 2015
Publication Date Jan 1, 2016
Deposit Date Dec 11, 2019
Journal Computers in Human Behavior
Print ISSN 0747-5632
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 54
Pages 358-367
Keywords Instant messaging (IM); Social network sites; Snapchat; Critical incidence technique; Social capital
Public URL
Additional Information This article is maintained by: Elsevier; Article Title: “What do they snapchat about?” Patterns of use in time-limited instant messaging service; Journal Title: Computers in Human Behavior; CrossRef DOI link to publisher maintained version:; Content Type: article; Copyright: Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.