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  • What Ephemeral Content Means For Our Relationships


    2.8 min to read by Rebekah Iliff
    Published on February 1, 2016

    A Shutterfly study revealed that although Americans are snapping more photos than ever, they’re failing to share and look back at them. Based on the study, Americans now take more than 10 billion photos every month, but only one in two of the survey respondents have looked back at a picture more than ten years old within the last month.

    Ephemeral contentIf ephemeral (AKA “fleeting content”) is on the rise – and it is –, what does it mean for our relationships, from romantic partners to friends and colleagues?

    Snapchat turns moments into one-time secrets, Vine has evolved videos into mini versions of themselves, and Periscope (Twitter’s live video-streaming platform that lets you view “transmissions” for up to 24 hours after the live broadcast) all help to facilitate a digital conversation that’s meant to fade with time. The opportunities for marketers to leverage these platforms are plentiful and quite exciting when it comes down to it. But for the sake of human reflection (and Valentine’s Day), let’s look at how ephemeral content is changing the way we manage our real relationships.

    We stare at our Smartphone screens in bed.

    Raise your hand if you’ve ever pawed your partner’s phone down in bed only to start a mini-argument about them having lost their place in the article they found via their iPhone’s News app. I see many hands.

    We judge romantic prospects in a matter of seconds.

    Social/dating apps like Tinder encourage us to judge prospective mates immediately based on a photo and mobile-short bio. What and who are we overlooking because of technology? Do the benefits of being able to quickly preview prospects outweigh the cons?

    Treasured photos go unprinted.

    RIP scrapbooks and framed family photos – hello, minimalist apartments equipped with cloud technologies. Flipagrams posted on Instagram just may be our new photo albums…  

    FOMO continues with full force.

    Now that we’ve replaced printing photos of fun times with live broadcasting, we’re continually contributing to the FOMO issues of others. Let’s go straight to the source for this one and ask a college student. Syracuse University Digital Journalism major Jane Hong comments, “If you and I were hanging out and I posted a Snap of us to my story, a third party could be hurt or jealous they weren’t invited.” What Jane said.

    New ways to engage are born.

    From sharing videos of special moments like getting engaged so your whole family can see it the second it happens to reconnecting with old flames via social platforms, we’re also reaping some pretty cool benefits from today’s ephemeral content platforms. You can’t deny that.

    So there you have it. The future is indeed here, it’s okay to be in love with software, and we will surely see many more exciting shifts in social sharing that will make us feel torn between whether our real lives or digital lives are better.

    What do you think? Is ephemeral content a sign of evolution or does it make you feel nostalgic for old-world ways? Let us know in the comments below!

    Join the conversation!