And For Today’s Trick, We’re Going to Make Your Content…DISAPPEAR!

Today we’re going to look at a somewhat newer trend.


No, sorry dabbing dinosaur, I mean dabasaur, a social media trend. We’re going to look at the popularity behind disappearing content. What began as a feature unique to Snapchat has now been adopted by Instagram, and you can bet you’ll soon see it elsewhere as well. Now, it may seem counterintuitive to pour time into creating something that will soon vanish, sometimes within 24 hours, but as any dinosaur can attest to, sometimes being gone forever gives something an added cool factor.

So wait…I’m working hard on content that will be gone tomorrow? Yup, sorry!

So what is disappearing content and what makes it so popular? Snapchat is made up entirely of temporary content whereas Instagram uses images and animations to tell a “story”, as a sort of digital blog of what’s happening in your life at one moment in time. It may not have the same quality of permanent pictures that you choose to archive in your profile, but it’s rawness is what makes it special in its own way. Snapchat and Instagram even allow you to draw on your content and add stickers to give it a less refined look that serves more to entertain than to impress visually. It’s lack of permanency is also what gives it its exciting exclusive feel, which is why libraries and other businesses should care about its potential for interacting with their audience. People want to feel like they’re an exclusive member and they hate missing out on interesting things, so posting creative images or videos as disappearing content can encourage more frequent viewing habits from your followers and win more likes. They will want to check your page more frequently to see if there’s anything new going on.

So how could your library use this feature? You might do special sneak peaks into the best study spaces or some remarkable items in your collection, to start with. Got an event coming up? Perhaps you could interview people involved and provide a “behind the scene” look at what’s to come. Or, if you want to get more crazy, try offering sporadic contests with prizes in this disappearing content messages to produce some desired behavior from your followers: locate a certain branch and get the code from the librarian, find a piece of information on the website and email it to the address provided, etc. It really is a great opportunity to inject a bit of fun into your social media campaign.

The flip side of this is that you will be doing work that many will miss out on if they fail to see it on time. For this reason, it should by no means be your only means for conveying important information that you wish the most number of viewers to see! Choose carefully what content is supplementary. Think of bonus features on a DVD. It is not essential to using the library, but it might make for a much more enjoyable experience!