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Snapchat is more than just sending pictures and videos to your friends. Snapchat has grown into a powerful tool, bringing the world of news, events and trends to millions of users in a snap.

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First, a Little Snapchat History

When Snapchat was first introduced in late 2011, the application was used as a social tool to update your friends on what was happening through a temporary picture or video “snap.” The idea was simple enough and soon took off as a popular application, Snapchat even proved valuable in the workplace 5 Reasons Snapchat Is Excellent For The Workforce 5 Reasons Snapchat Is Excellent For The Workforce With any business, communication is key. However, communication doesn't have to be all memos and emails - why not make it a little more interesting? Try using Snapchat for work! Read More .

Users would tune into their friends snaps by holding their fingers on the screen and watching an almost live update  experiencing events from friends that would remain for 1-10 seconds, and only for that time. If the user wanted to “capture” a screen grab, the video or picture uploader would be notified (and have the option to allow others to save or not save their uploads). Initially, Snapchat was made popular by teenagers 7 Reasons Snapchat is a Teenager's Favourite Social Network 7 Reasons Snapchat is a Teenager's Favourite Social Network The latest craze amongst the adults of the future is the secretive photo-sharing service Snapchat. Why do they love it? Read More , but is now trending amongst more adult users.

Snapchat Stories

This idea of watching these almost-live events caught on when Snapchat introduced Snapchat stories Snapchat Introduces Stories To Narrate The Last 24 Hours Of Your Life In Pictures Snapchat Introduces Stories To Narrate The Last 24 Hours Of Your Life In Pictures SnapChat's designed to send self-destructing photos or videos. But now it wants to change that with the launch of SnapChat Stories, allowing the images to stay for 24 hours. Read More in 2013.

The idea was the same: you could view disappearing videos or pictures of major (and not so major) events from around the world, but they lasted 24 hours and could always be replayed. Many events were introduced through these stories – for example the Super Bowl, New York’s “Snowpocalypse” and countless concerts and festivals. The recent introduction of background music to video uploads  may even make musicians into millionaires. Snapchat Hacking: How Strippers Make Money & What Musicians Need to Know Snapchat Hacking: How Strippers Make Money & What Musicians Need to Know It's rumoured to be a rival to TV. With astronomical viewing figures, original content, and good reason for advertisers to come on board, Snapchat is going places. But are you coming with it? Read More

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Snapchat’s “Discover”

In a more recent update introduced earlier this year, Snapchat introduced “Discover.” This new feature to view original content from major brands has grown into a powerful tool that news organizations, celebrities and media channels have taken advantage of.

According to a report by mobile analytics firm 7Park Data, Snapchat’s “Discover” feature has brought in millions of pageviews per day. In the United States and Europe, data consumption from the app skyrocketed proving that users of the application have noticed “Discover.”

The firm’s data shows that mobile users wanted to engage in content not just from their friends but also from celebrities, news and media ogranizations.

How do you use Snapchat’s Discover? Here’s a quick official video tutorial:

What Exactly is Snapchat Discover?

Snapchat Discover is a tool used inside the Snapchat application. You have a choice between viewing content from Vice, Mtv, National Geographic and nine other media channel options. These media channels showcase content from their website in quick and concise previews. You can then swipe up on the previews to learn more about content.

While there aren’t clickable links inside the application, the idea from a media perspective is to get users aware of their brand and then hopefully view their content on their own website.

Another important feature is that the news remains as a 24 hour update. There is no “breaking” news added, but more-or-less a 24 hour recap of what has occurred.

Here’s a look at a few of the channels.

VICE

Vice joined Discover and delivers content that it is known for — in-depth news from a different perspective, mostly from journalists in the field and at the scene.

Their “Discover” channel does a great job of showcasing their in-the-field reporting and offers seven previews on the main screen and an in-depth video or article when the preview is swiped up.

I even noticed that their news changes depending on where you are. I was able to view a German story while traveling in the country, even though my mobile network is from the US. They even took users on a tour of a Bitcoin factory in China.

Snapchat’s Own Discover Channel

With the introduction of “Discover,” Snapchat also introduced their own channel – a quick video preview update with a “Word of the day” option, celebrity gossip, and general news.

On March 6 they showed a video of baby elephant Nandi raised in Reid Park Zoo. The video update showed around 15 seconds of video on the baby elephant and a few facts thrown in for good measure – Nandi is already 450 pounds!

More importantly though, pop-Queen Madonna recently used the channel to release a debut of her new video “Living for Love.” With the update, she became the first artist to use Snapchat as a tool to drop a music video.

National Geographic

It also seems long tenured media channels are using the new view. The travel and culture website appeared to have really taken advantage of having their own channel — you can view photos, videos, articles and even play a pop-quiz (with the answers shown when flipping the screen up).

Their content seems to be updated every day and includes sights from photographers and videographers from around the world.

Here’s a screen grab from CNN and National Geographic.

Bleacher Report

Bleacher Report introduced their channel with a seemingly endless supply of fresh updates. While the news isn’t tailored to your tastes like it is on their phone app, their summary is well rounded and includes hockey, soccer (football), rugby, basketball, sporting YouTube videos and athlete gossip news.

In all, there seems to be around nine or ten different video/meme previews that include information when swiped up.

Is Snapchat a Media Revolution?

The “Discover” channel is fresh with updated videos, pictures and articles, and seems poised to remain popular in the US and UK — despite British Prime Minister David Cameron’s plan to ban Snapchat in the UK UK Plan Bans Whatsapp & Snapchat, ISIS Hacks Military Command [Tech News Digest] UK Plan Bans Whatsapp & Snapchat, ISIS Hacks Military Command [Tech News Digest] Read More . The new feature seems to be taking off, as proved with recent data. And while these media channels can’t get page impressions from linked views, their brand and content can get popular with users. TV may soon be a thing of the past, as evident with a 24 million view count of the “Snowpocalypse” vs 21 million view during “Sunday Night Football.” The future of video and news content may be in your hand already.

Do you use Snapchat “Discover?” Do you think it can challenge other forms of viewing media, especially news?

Image Credits: Retro old yellow TV Via Shutterstock

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