The death of Snapchat

Snapchat. Long beheld as the social media platform that was going to the big thing after Facebook and Instagram. Many brands attempted to jump on the wagon to attract the new generation of youths on Snapchat, but most were never close to success.

Snapchat was built upon the idea that your followers had to actively look for you before they can find you. Great for privacy and sharing your personal life. Not so great for brands. There are only 2 ways brands could get a following was to either share their Snapchat username on other platforms or to get on the 'Discover' page. 

Plugging another social media platform account on a different platform only can bring you that far. Your audience is the same and there is no organic growth.

 Credits: social@Ogilvy

Credits: social@Ogilvy


Snapchat 'Discover'? Nope, no one cares. Hence the only brands on there are CNN, Buzzfeed and Vice.

I can go on to talk about the features of Snapchat but I'm not here to analyse only the app, but instead to look at its death. It would die by itself if it continued on its path but it didn't have to die a slow painful death. Instagram came along and stopped them in their path. 

The day Instagram launch Stories, the whole world went crazy. I will agree that it was a straight rip off of Snapchat. But that was only the start. Instagram wasn't interested in simply taking the feature from Snapchat, they wanted to crush them. So they made one decision, be everything that Snapchat isn't. 

Many brands already have a large and loyal following on Instagram. The introduction of Stories gave them an easy option, ditch Snapchat and focus on their followers. 

Then there's the combination of Facebook ads with Instagram ads. Now brands can run ads on both platform seamlessly, gain new followers and continue to communicate with their fanbase. Like I siad, everything that Snapchat couldn't do, Instagram made sure that did it. 

Look, it's November 2016 and Instagram hasn't stopped there. They rolled out Live Stories and also allow link to be embedded in stories. You see where this is going? Your audience can now actively engage with your posts and not to mention that it humanises your brand. Although these features are now only for verified users, I am sure many businesses are sitting on the edge of their chairs waiting to get their hands on it. 

It's the 21st century, the lesser work it takes to bring your audience from your content to giving you their money, the more money you will get. Facebook has poured their soul into making this a one-step process. 

Snapchat will be remembered as the result of failing to "always try to put yourself out of business".

Project Tacloban - Post #2 "Announcement"

Click here to read the first post on this project.

It's been a week since I came out with this idea and I have plenty of good news to share. First, of course, is that the project is a go. My flights have been booked and I'm getting the ball rolling on pre-production research.

A big part of help I need now is to speak to some people from all over the world on how they were affected by Haiyan. Maybe your family was affected, you know someone who was affected or you yourself was affected. It doesn't matter if you are a resident of Tacloban or not, if you have a story to share, I'll be more than happy to listen.


I would have many people in the documentary but I'm bound by time and budget. Don't be offended if I don't include your story in the documentary but I guarantee it will help me to produce it.

I'll have the next post up by tonight to share the concept and plan of this documentary.

Project Tacloban - Post #1 "The Idea"

Here it goes. Early yesterday morning, I had an idea pop in my head about producing a short documentary in Tacloban City for the third anniversary of Typhoon Haiyan. I looked at my calendar and saw a perfect time: my final school break and Christmas holidays. 

A little inspiration from a video I saw a long time ago (Cheers to Casey and Oscar!):


It started as a simple "want" but as I did more research, I became personally attached to the project. I looked up online and found little information on how the people of Tacloban are recovering after 3 years. The few articles I found were about how some residents were still living in temporary homes or about the geographical dangers of Tacloban's coastline. Many coastal villages were abandoned because it has been deemed to threatened by the water levels.

The first principle I set for myself is that the project will only be a go if I can get a reliable local contact. My belief is that having one will allow me to get things done faster and capture things I may miss if I were to go solo.

I sent out a tweet on Monday (or maybe it was Sunday night) to ask if anyone knows anyone local in Tacloban. No replies.

I looked up online for a driver that could help me out. No luck.

Then I remember a schoolmate of mine always travelled to the Philipines. Not expecting much, I dropped her a message and luck was knocking on my door (FINALLY!). Her uncle happens to be the vice-mayor of the city and her mum is active in the rebuilding efforts on the ground.

I spoke to her to get some insights on the situation at ground zero. It started to hit me that the destruction was widespread (no areas were spared) and people are still struggling to recover. She shared that some of her family members reside in Tacloban and were directly affected by Typhoon Haiyan (which is known as Yolanda to the locals). 

The objective is not to create a blockbuster film or a viral video. Instead, it is to capture the stories of the people and share it with the world. Even a single view of the video would make it worth it. 

This project has become personal. Maybe it's good, maybe bad. I'll never know until I'm done. 

I'll update more along the way. I'm still 3 months out and I'm more focused on the basic logistics but if the stars align, maybe I can try to do more for the people.


One Year On... (The Last Frontier) - Part 1

How dumb I was. 6 months before the trip, I actually rejected the idea of heading to Alaska... ALASKA for god's sake. Thankfully, yours truly did not make that mistake. 

On 29 September (Edit: It was August, getting old here) 2015, I left Singapore for a 23+ hour flight (or should I say flights) to Fairbanks, Alaska. 

 3 boarding passes, better not lose any of them.

3 boarding passes, better not lose any of them.

It was a 6am flight but I was in the airport at am to get some work done and also to meet a friend of mine who was flying off the same morning. I was prepared for my 23 hours of hell. I mean, an American airline and coach, sounds like a disaster. Surprising it wasn't that bad.

I had a book to read, movies on my Macbook Pro ('No Cameras Allowed'  was insanely good, more on that in a later post) and the in-flight entertainment. 


 Starbucks coffee on an airplane? INSANE!

Starbucks coffee on an airplane? INSANE!

I made an earlier decision to start sleeping on ADST as soon as I stepped on the first leg. This was made possible with the endless supply of Starbucks coffee on all Delta flights. It was insane, to say the least, but don't expect a Green Tea Cream. Service was mehh especially if you are a die-hard Singapore Airlines fan. 

 Chena River

Chena River

Long and behold, 23 hours passed and I'm now in ice-cold Fairbanks. 5pm, chilly and bright, it felt like a cold morning. Pumped, I was going all out in capturing the sheer beauty of the Chena River, which my hotel was situated next to. 

 Fantastic Pizza Hut

Fantastic Pizza Hut

By the time I felt hungry, it was already 10pm. It wasn't entirely my fault, it's 10 but the sky was still bright (oh blame it on the latitude of 65 degrees North). With all restaurants closed, I googled around for Pizza Hut, which moments ago I saw a guy delivery them to my hotel. It took me a painful 20 minutes to order with my call going out to Anchorage. Finally it was delivered!

I'm not lying when I say they deliver pizza faster in the icy-cold region of Alaska than here in Singapore.