Wait, what!? Your favourite social app is launching an online magazine about 'real life'.

Social media has come a long way since the days of MSN conversations written entirely in acronyms, or the politics of your MySpace Top Friends list.

Social media isn’t just about filters and time-wasting anymore. It’s about art, people.

Snapchat, the photo-sharing app (and, more importantly, the creator of the flower-crown filter), is launching a digital magazine called Real Life. (Sounds like an oxymoron, but that’s the point).

The magazine will feature one written piece a day, in the format of “essays, arguments, and narratives about living with technology.”

The central theme will be the way we use and experience technology in our everyday lives, but without the dense tech-talk favoured by publications like Wired or Gizmag.  Think Lenny Letter, through the lens of technology.

The brains behind Real Life is Nathan Jurgenson, a social media theorist and Snapchat employee, who will also serve as the magazine’s editor-in-chief. According the Jurgenson, the line between our ‘real life’ and our ‘online life’ no longer exists; the two serve as extensions of each other.

“I’ve argued that ‘online’ and ‘offline’, like ‘body’ and ‘mind’, aren’t like two positions on a light switch—a perspective I’ve called digital dualism,” he wrote in the first piece published on the Real Life website. “Instead, all social life is made of both information and material; it’s technological and human, virtual and real.”

Hence the site’s title. But there’s more to it than that. The title Real Life isn’t just a dig at our increasingly antisocial tendency to live our lives online, it’s also the title of 1980’s art publication from New York. #trendy

Jurgenson is adamant that all pieces published to the site will be creative or academically-inspired think pieces, “…though we may eventually expand to other mediums and formats as well.”


Perhaps the most interesting part of Real Life, however, is the way it’s differentiating from the social media ‘norm’. While Instagram and Facebook are pushing boundaries and wooing consumers with video innovations, Snapchat is returning to the written word. Heck, there might be hope for us writers and readers after all.


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As for Snapchat’s role in the whole venture?

The social network doesn’t have a lot to do with it (for now) – Snapchat is simply bankrolling the site.

All writers will be editorially autonomous from the Snapchat brand, and will be discussing a broad range of technology from entertainment tech like virtual reality, to wearable health tech. It will be a brave new attempt to ‘humanise’ the world of technology from the icy black hole we current see it as.


Speculation among the gossipy nerds online says it will soon line up with the Snapchat Discovery functionality, where different publications push out their own content.

Only time will tell. And in the meantime, let’s all take pig-filter selfie and be done with it.

The mag is set to launch on the 27th of July, right here at www.reallifemag.com