Royalty has died. OK, so he was not technically royalty, but singer-songwriter and overall music sensation Prince died Thursday at age 57. His songs were unbelievably innovative for their time, and his performances were top-notch, making him a true legend. After all, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004 and won seven Grammys. Still uncertain of the culprit several days later, Prince fans have been in serious mourning for the loss of such an icon. I mean, who can blame them?
Your average fans are not the only ones who are grieving. Celebrities of all kinds have taken to social media to express their sorrows and appreciate the life Prince led and shared with the rest of the world. Possibly even more interesting, however, is the way social media platforms themselves have attempted to memorialize Prince’s legacy. I particularly took note of Snapchat’s take on the matter.
Upon hearing of Prince’s death, Snapchat, one of my favorite apps and social media platforms, quickly took action and added a filter of purple rain to commemorate Prince. The design keenly reflected the iconic hit “Purple Rain,” which was released in the movie “Purple Rain,” as well as on the album with the name — yep, you guessed it — “Purple Rain.” The filter made no mention of Prince’s name, but its modest design of purple raindrops falling was definitely enough to gracefully get the job done.
I find it so interesting that platforms like Snapchat nowadays have a role in paying tribute to iconic figures who have passed away. I imagine that years ago, something as typically lighthearted as Snapchat showing grievance for such a heavy subject matter would have seemed a little unfitting. Now, however, I actually feel that social media platforms do have a responsibility to take action and pay their respects in a manner that their users can appreciate.
Social media has become a form through which people connect, gain information and show self-expression. As a result, it is very important for an app like Snapchat to be in tune with its users, even on an emotional level. When someone turns to Snapchat to show off a photo or express an opinion, he or she expects the app to provide the resources that enable him or her to do so. Thus, the purple rain filter allowed Snapchat users to take a photo and simply swipe left to add a touching feature that paid tribute to the man, myth and legend Prince was.
What impressed me most, though, was the speed at which Snapchat released the purple rain filter. It was within a matter of hours after the news spread that the purple rain effect was filling up Snapchat stories from all over. It seems to have only been for the day, but I think that is the perfect amount of time. It was short and sweet, yet tasteful, and I imagine it helped cushion the blow of Prince’s death for thousands of his fans. It is now back to the fun filters and geotags galore, but hats off to you, Snapchat. Job well done.