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Take a walk around the University of Washington campus and you will unquestionably run into, maybe literally, a student looking down at his or her smartphone.

But just how many of them are snapping selfies to send to their friends on Snapchat?

snapchat543The selfie-exchanging ephemeral-messaging app has risen to popularity quickly, nearing 200 million daily active users and six billion video views per day since its launch five years ago.

This fast growth has made the app a popular place to advertise. The Discover feature, introduced a year ago, is a way for big publishers to get in on Snapchat’s massive audience. They can contribute photos, videos, or articles that will have a 24-hour lifespan on the app. The content appears in a personalized bubble found on the same page as a user’s personal friend’s Stories.

Snapchat launched the Discover feature with 11 spots, including one for Vice, ESPN, and CNN, last January. Today there are 15 spots; Vox and The Wall Street Journal are a couple of the app’s newest customers.

Thanks to this lucrative feature and funding from Alibaba and Yahoo, among others, Snapchat was valued as high as $16 billion last year, making it one of the most valued private startups in the world.

So who’s using Snapchat? The company claims that 60 percent of America’s 13 to 34-year-olds with smartphones are Snapchatting. And a study of 1,600 college students done by marketing company Sumpto showed 77 percent of them were on the app, using it at least once per day.

Given this, I asked a handful of students on the University of Washington campus if they use Snapchat — and if so, why?

Turns out most students “Snap” regularly, but the majority seem to still favor Facebook over other popular social media platforms.

Read some of their thoughts below.

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Alex Comnenos, UW junior

“I use Snapchat to follow my friends, what they’re up to. I also follow a few celebrities and bloggers. Sometimes I check the newsletters or the feeds that Refinery 29 posts, or sometimes sports or events around the world. I love how it connects you with people like instantaneously. I think it’s a really cool app that breaks down barriers between celebrities and regular people.”

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Catherine McCool, UW sophomore

“I would say I use Snapchat probably like…probably like 50 times a day…Whenever I’m bored I just open my phone and look at it. I like how you can personally connect with people, like you can send individuals pictures, whereas on Instagram that’s not as easy…you kind of like just look through a feed.”

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Ariana Rivera, UW junior

“I mainly use it to talk to my sister because she doesn’t live here and so it’s just like an instantaneous thing and I can send her things that are funny, things that are going on in my life. It’s a good way to stay connected even though we aren’t with each other all the time. I use to use it a lot so I have a really high score now, which is like the number of snaps you’ve sent or received, but I don’t do it as much as I used to. Snapchat just seems like a middle school thing I guess. Which I guess is mean to say but I don’t know, I think the older I’m getting, the more I’m like’ this is dumb.’”

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Jakob Ross, UW sophomore

“Once I started freshman year here, within a couple months I was kind of done with Snapchat. I felt kind of embarrassed using it in front of my girlfriend who doesn’t use anything like that… I kind of stopped because A. it doesn’t really matter to me a whole lot and B. I felt like an idiot using it in front of my significant other. So, I just kind of quit.”

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Lauren Antilla, UW sophomore

“Sending pics to a couple friends, only like three… I think news on Snapchat could be interesting, depending on, I mean, how often you use it really.”

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Leyla Ibrahim, UW senior

“Let’s see, that’s basically it, I’m just a Facebook and Snapchat hoarder… I read the Daily Mail, I use BuzzFeed, Vice, yeah… I completed it once, you know all those little button things because I was really bored. It took almost three hours to finish it because I like to analyze what I’m reading, but yeah.”

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Valerie Nhaera, UW senior

“I’m not a big fan of taking pictures, so I think that’s mostly what it is. But I do like to check stories out and things like that, post stories.”

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Thomas French, UW senior

“I got a Snapchat at one point and then I didn’t understand how to use it, I suppose. People would send me a Snapchat of them doing something and I would want to respond with words, I suppose. I wanted to talk to them. I was like ‘I’m not doing anything with my life, like I don’t want to send them a picture.’”

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