The mobile phone app “Snapchat” launched a new feature called “Our Campus Story” on UT’s campus Friday.
According to a statement released by Snapchat on Oct. 17, Snapchat users on and around campus can view a regular feed of images and videos uploaded by users on the campus. For its first trial of this feature, Snapchat selected UT, University of California-Los Angeles, University of Southern California and Pennsylvania State University. Snapchat launched similar features at Austin City Limits Music Festival, the Electric Daisy Carnival, New York Fashion Week and college football games.
“Our Campus Story was the natural evolution of the Our Story product that we launched at [Electronic Daisy Carnival] this year,” Snapchat said in statement. “Our team heard tons of requests for Our Story at college campuses — so we just had to make it happen.”
Mike Horn, director of digital strategy at UT, said Snapchat did not consult with or alert the University prior to the launch of the feature, but so far the University has reacted positively.
“Our first reaction was kind of curiosity,” Horn said. “It’s so new to us that we haven’t developed a formal strategy around it, but it seems like a great tool for students to get a feel for whatever is going on on campus.”
Officials from Penn State’s and USC’s social media teams said they had not been contacted by Snapchat about the new feature either.
Horn said Snapchat may have selected the four campuses because of their large base of Snapchat users.
The Snapchat team filters all uploaded content and removes inappropriate material. The recent feed has included videos of pranks inside University dorms, chemistry experiments, student yoga classes and football locker rooms.
Hugo Rojo, a public relations senior and “pretty consistent” Snapchat user, said he has not uploaded any content yet, but has enjoyed the feed. He said the new feature allows users to witness slices of daily life on campus that they would otherwise never see.
“With the introduction of Our Campus Story, it’s really providing a lens to the greater campus community to people who normally wouldn’t be able to experience it,” Rojas said.
Snapchat is planning to expand its Our Campus Story to other campus locations around the world.