INTERVIEW WITH ANDREW MITCHELL OF MIC.COM
Mic, what is your spirit Emoji and don’t you dare lie about it.
Mine, Andrew's, is 🌚. Speaking for Mic, it would have be the microphone Emoji (duh). 🎤
Mic, can you tell the people who you are and what can they expect if they add you on Snapchat?
Mic's mission is to provide young people with quality news coverage on issues that are important to them. That's our approach to Snapchat, too. If you add us on Snapchat, you can expect in-depth reporting, behind-the-scenes Snaps with editors and writers, fun takeovers, quizzes, interactive games, and amazing Snap drawings. We post every weekday. Sometimes we keep it light. Other times we get real.
As much as possible, I like to ask for our audience's voices and perspectives. My biggest goal for Mic's Snapchat is to dismantle the old barrier between writer and reader, content producer and content consumer. I think that's the direction social media has taken us--and Snapchat is just one more tool to that end.
On a platform that requires new content every 24 hours, how do you keep it fresh?
We're constantly experimenting with new kinds of content and new formats. I don't think anyone has figured out what a news outlet's Snapchat is "supposed" to look like, and that freedom is what makes my job so exciting.
You publish dozens of stories each day on Mic.com, how do you decide which ones to talk about on your Snapchat?
I have several criteria that help me choose. The most important is that it be a topic that resonates with our Snapchat audience (which is slightly different from our Facebook audience, or our Tumblr audience, etc.). I look for other criteria, too: stories that have a narrative pay-off (a point); stories that meaningfully add to a conversation; and stories that are just plain fun. I never want to shoe-horn a Mic story into Snapchat's unique form, so I also always pick stories that will work naturally on the platform.
How do you see Snapchat transforming the way news is published?
Snapchat already has transformed the way news is published. Upwards of 20 million people watch Snapchat's "Live Story" coverage of major events. There's no doubt Snapchat is going to play a huge role in the 2016 campaign. (most candidates already have set up accounts)
What's more, it's no longer tenable to think of publishers like Buzzfeed or Vice (or Mic, for that matter) as "news websites." 21% of Buzzfeed's traffic comes from Snapchat, which is essentially on par with the 23% of traffic it gets directly to its site and apps.
That being said, Snapchat news is still the Wild West, and it will be fascinating to see what happens as the platform matures. Certainly, there will have to be better guidelines for ethical Snapchat journalism. Since stories disappear in 24 hours, one question is, how can publishers be held accountable for their widely-seen, but ephemeral, content?
If you could change one thing about Snapchat what would it be?
I wish Snapchat weren't such a huge battery hog.
If you could follow anyone on Snapchat, dead or alive who would you follow?
What is your favorite 90’s cartoon show?
Rugrats. (But I wasn't born until 1993.)
Snapchat Lenses, great addition or greatest addition to Snapchat?
Some of the things I saw with Lenses, I can never un-see.
If Pizza Rat is the new mascot for NYC, what is the mascot for San Francisco?
Soylent Drone. And Pizza Rat would utterly destroy it in a fight.
What is your favorite Snapchat channel or brand to follow, and why is it us?
Nice try, Snapcodes. Taco Bell has the best Snapchat I've seen. (Their social media game in general is v strong.) As far as media outlets go, Mashable might be the second best...after Mic, of course.