A week before the Thanksgiving holiday, it was 7:00 AM and I was in my car making the trip to Dallas from my home in Oklahoma City. It’s a three hour trip one way. I was in route to a meeting when I got a frantic text from my friend asking how far I was from the Blue Whale in Catoosa, Oklahoma. Apparently, the Snapchat bot was there dispensing the company’s newest wearable product called spectacles in Catoosa.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t anywhere near Catoosa so I couldn’t help my friend. I did, however, find a way to snag my own pair which arrived on my doorstep just before the Thanksgiving holiday. At the time I was one of the first 1,000 people to have a pair which was cool and yet Snapchat’s product for me has been a big disappointment, but that hasn’t stopped anyone in the mad dash to be one of the first to get a pair.
What’s the Big Deal with Snapchat Spectacles?
Outside of Snapchat’s New York City pop up shop location for the holiday shopping season, spectacles are not available for purchase anywhere outside of a random dispenser called the bot which travels to random locations for the day. It quite possibly could be the reason several of your employees have called in sick for the day.
The frenzy to get Spectacles is a mad one due to the popularity of the social media platform and the limited spectacles supply. A number of social media influencers and enthusiasts have went to great lengths including paying $1,000 for a helicopter flight to the Grand Canyon floor and another social media friend of mine waiting in line for 13 hours of the course of two days for the pop up store in New York City. These people when to great lengths and didn’t get a pair of spectacles.
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I myself, took the
easy smart route and just bought the damn things on eBay for $600. Zero line. No disappointment after I waited in line or invested in a helicopter. They arrived on my doorstep. The purchase price for those who purchase them from the pop up store or the bot is $125 and you are limited to 2 per purchase.
What Do Snapchat Spectacles Do Exactly?
Snapchat spectacles come in a fun package and have a chargeable case which makes the wearables more portable than Google Glass ever was. Snapchat’s spectacles product provides the user with the ability to take photos and 10 seconds of video using the special glasses hands free and publish them directly to Snapchat and in the moment. Spectacles are fun and expensive sunglasses that have a camera and video recording device attached to them. The fact they are sunglasses versus means the less likelihood you will be seeing them in your offices, however, Sarah Evans, owner of Sevans Strategy, a digital consulting firm recently had the lenses of her spectacles replaced with prescription lenses. So there is a possibility you might see your employees wearing spectacles at work.
Keep in mind Snapchat users are spending 25-30 minutes on the app daily. Users can see snaps of their friends in the form of video and photos while also being able to chat or message directly within the app as well as talk over video similar to the Facetime feature on the iPhone.
For parents of Snapchat users, your kids can essentially do everything they would do within the app talk, text, share and digest content with their friends, followers and community. The user controls if they receive updates in the form of push notifications to let them know when their friends call, send messages or share new snaps with each other. If the push notifications are disabled, parents have no idea of what their kids are doing on the app because we only think to check phone calls and texts. The photos and conversations are kept within the app with notifications controlled by the user in settings.
I have taken my share of work calls on Snapchat and talked shop about work using Snapchat, and I think the number of people like me who use it in the workplace will only increase as professionals, recruiters included move to the preferred platforms of employees, clients and candidates. It’s the reason that text messaging is so successful right now for recruiters talking to candidates.
Below I included the spectacles unboxing that I shot with my phone of course and posted on Instagram which no longer has limit on video length. While I love the quick 10 second video limit that Snapchat provides, sometimes you need more than 10 seconds. You can see more what they look like below.
Five Ways to Use Spectacles as Workplace Wearables
Like any wearable, spectacles provide the user a hands free experience and when it comes to the workplace I think there are some opportunities for employers to take advantage of the hype, excitement and utility they provide. Experts are anticipating the wearables market will be in excess of $25 billion by 2019.
- Workplace Communication. Spectacles are a great way to communicate to your employees in platforms and using technology that are exciting and familiar. Even if you don’t publish your workplace communciation taken using spectacles on Snapchat, you can share the content on your other social media accounts as well as other internal communciation platforms including your intranet. What a great creative and fun way to share moments and information with your employees.
- Encouraging Employee Engagement. Snapchat is engaging. It’s fun and makes communication and information sharing more personal. Users are invested in the platform and committed providing other users a very in the moment and often candid look into their lives. Spectacles provides your workplace the same opportunity. Employee takeovers of social media accounts are common as a way to drive employer branding. Think about the use of spectacles and how it might encourage engagement using this technology in different ways. Now, if we can integrate spectacles with existing workplace technology like Slack and other internal social networks. Imagine the employee engagement as well as communciation possibilities.
- Employer Branding. Employers should consider using spectacles in their employer branding campaigns as a way to tell day in the life stories they are tap into wearables and the associated social network that lend to not only increased engagement but the ability to tell meaningful stories. Spectacles offers employers a way to differentiate themselves using workplace wearables and sharing quick videos and insights into the employee and candidate experience.
- Enhanced Employee Learning. A recent study by Syracuse University found that students in their PhD programs improved students individual success rate. The findings showed a significant decrease from 40 percent to 15 percent in the number of students earning Ds, Fs, or withdrawing from the course. Spectacles and other wearables used in a peer to peer learning and mentor capability provide the opportunity for employees to interact with peers quickly using hands free technology that takes advantage of video, photos and other visual types of learning and engagement from the users point of view. Also interesting to note is that in the same study, researchers found a dramatic reduction in failure rate for underrepresented minority students. Imagine if we integrated these types of wearables and peer to peer learning and experiences into our new hire onboarding and orientation programs.
- Increased Employee Productivity and Data. Spectacles and wearable technology like it can provide us with information and data to help businesses have access to more data in which to streamline or improve processes. When I think of spectacles, I am reminded of the Ladders resume study that found recruiters spend six seconds on average reviewing a resume. Wearable technology can provide us insights into how employees maintain productivity throughout the work day and where we can help provide tools and training to continue to improve employee engagement, work habits, learning and processes.
The Real Value of Spectacles in the Workplace
Snapchat’s spectacles are a fun wearable and piece of technology that helps individuals discuss and learn about the opportunity that wearables provide. While I believe Snapchat is important for HR and recruiting professionals to understand, I believe that spectacles help facilitate the discussion of the growing communciation and technology divide that exists at our offices between employees and organizational leaders. We are just not on the same page. I’ve received more flak, blank stares and baulking in board rooms and during executive meetings when I talked about Snapchat and it’s use in the workplace but also for business than I care to admit.
Spectacles in the office lends to conversations, learnings and curiosity that we just don’t see from mobile phones and ROI conversations that happen surrounding social media and digital in the boardroom. This is the reason benefit and value of spectacles at your office. Get them in your board room and have your executive team test them out, use them and talk about why Snapchat and this technology is important for the future of their business.
As someone who was also of the early users of the now failed Google Glass, I had small expectations when it came to Snapchat’s new product, but truth be told they have little use. I did, however, assumed this going in. I’m more interested in how Snapchat will handle lukewarm reviews from critics like my friend Carlos Gil, and the enhancements they will make in the future. I’m certain they went the promotion route capitalizing on product scarcity because they knew the spectacles product wasn’t great. It is a souped up sunglass that takes short bursts of photo and video. However, when I think of all the free media and buzz Snapchat has generated as a result of the spectacles launch. They did just file for IPO and they have much to prove especially given Twitter’s troubles and decline, Snapchat has gotten the boost and interest from investors and the media they desperately need.