TIME viral

Watch Driving Instructors Get Pranked by a Pro Racer

They think she doesn't know how to drive

Driving tests are supposed to be nerve-racking for new students, but one Malaysian driving school flipped the script and absolutely terrified their rookie instructors.

To prank employees on their first day of work, the school hired Leona Chin, a professional rally-racing driver, to be the unlucky tutors’ first pupil.

Chin, dressed up in a nerdy-looking outfit, spends the first half of the video pretending she’s a hopeless learner. Then, just as instructors are getting frustrated, Chin reveals her true talents—and the reactions are priceless.

“The 3 employees you saw at the end loved it and laughed it off, but the guy in the blue shirt was not too happy. That’s why we didn’t have footage of him smiling,” Izmir Mujab, CEO of the media company behind the video, told TIME.

Read next: Watch Mariah Carey Kill at Car Karaoke on The Late Late Show

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TIME Social Media

Facebook Is Playing a Brilliant Long Game for Your Attention

Facebook Messenger Platform F8
Bloomberg via Getty Images Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook Inc., speaks during the Facebook F8 Developers Conference in San Francisco, Calif., on March 25, 2015.

Remember Facebook Deals? How about Beacon, the ad-sharing feature that collapsed in a privacy scandal? Did you ever use Facebook Gifts while it was around? And when was the last time you fired up the Flipboard-like Paper app, if you ever downloaded it at all?

Facebook’s track record in releasing new apps or features is spotty at best, with a trail of outright failures running through the company’s history. This week, as the company announces new initiatives at its F8 developers conference, you have to wonder which ones will end up falling by the wayside.

And yet, taking the long view, you also have to wonder whether any new crop of failures will matter at all. Because when Facebook conceives new ideas and turns them into apps or platforms, the company is taking the long view. Facebook isn’t trying to bat 1.000, or even have a .407 season. Even with its collective failures, Facebook remains beloved by investors, who have pushed its stock up 232% over the past two years.

From that perspective, it’s more important to see what Facebook is trying to accomplish with its newly announced offerings, rather than looking too closely at the announcements themselves. With that in mind, here’s a quick summary of what Facebook has announced so far at F8:

Messenger Platform, which features a compose window loaded with third-party apps (40 for now), and a new customer-support communication with businesses.

Parse. The mobile platform Facebook bought a couple of years ago will let developers build apps for the Internet of things, including wearable devices and smart appliances.

Embedded videos. In a clear threat to Google, videos uploaded to Facebook’s site can be embedded YouTube-like, on other sites.

LiveRail. Facebook is launching a mobile ad exchange that lets publishers sell display and video ads using Facebook data alongside cookies.

Spherical videos. Shot with 24 coordinated cameras, the immersive, 360-degree videos bring an element of virtual reality to the news feed.

These are only the latest announcements. On Tuesday, Facebook unveiled On This Day, a feature showing users archived posts as their anniversaries roll by. On Monday, Instagram announced Layout, a new app that combines multiple photos into a single image. Over the weekend, word leaked out that Facebook was talking with media companies about hosting content inside its platform. And last week, Messenger added the ability for friends to send payments to each other.

Tech keynotes have become like Christmas stockings, a grab bag of new goodies that, handled right, fill gadget lovers and developers with either glee or disappointment. Facebook’s stocking this week wasn’t as squeal-inducing as some of Apple’s have been. But again, that’s not the goal. The goal is to keep innovating, to keep iterating, until something gels with user behavior, gaining enough traction to become a part of their daily lives.

In fact, many of Facebook’s newer initiatives are largely do-overs of its past misfires. Beacon was re-engineered in Facebook Connect, which also shared user information on third-party sites–and AppLinks, a feature mentioned in the F8 Keynote, takes that integration a step further with deep linking. Facebook Places, launched in 2011 to kill off Foursquare and shuttered a year later, was reborn this year as Place Tips, aiming once again squarely at Foursquare.

In the weekly tech news cycle, these little revelations seem ephemeral, even trivial. Take a few steps back and look at the longer-term perspective and something more significant emerges: Facebook is mutating, virus-like, to adapt to how we interact with each other online. In conference calls with investors, Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg repeatedly warn they won’t monetize products until they resonate with a large base of users. That was the case with Facebook’s original Web site, and it’s still the case with Instagram and WhatsApp.

Facebook’s own Messenger app is a clear example. After launching as a “Gmail killer” in 2010, the original Messages feature became a staple of the site and, eventually, a distinct app. When the company later bought WhatsApp, some worried Facebook would spoil it by turning it into an all-in-one messaging platform like WeChat or Line. Instead, WhatsApp remains largely unchanged, while Facebook is amping up Messenger from app to platform, with an ecosystem of third-party apps on top.

Of all the F8 announcements, Messenger is the most interesting. By letting users download apps directly inside conversations, Facebook is making it easy to distribute apps virally–a huge draw for developers considering Facebook’s platform. If this plan succeeds, Facebook would be hard to rival in the messaging space.

But Facebook didn’t stop there. Messenger is also becoming a line of communications with companies. Deals and Gifts were attempts to anchor ecommerce inside Facebook that largely fell short of Facebook dream of getting consumers to interact as closely with brands as they do their friends. If Messaging–which chronicles transactions from purchase to delivery inside a single thread, aiming to make ecommerce as personal as in-store buying–doesn’t achieve that original goal, it’s a big step toward it.

Not all of Facebook’s new efforts are very far along. In opening Parse up to the Internet of things, Facebook cited examples like push notifications when garage doors open or close, or reminders that a plant needs to be watered. These feel like applications that make people dread push notifications or wired homes in general. But Facebook is working with chipmakers to build Parse support inside processors, so there’s clearly a long-term game being played here as well.

Some of these new features may fall by the wayside, prompting snickers by observers. But the real question–as is usually the case in Silicon Valley–is how will Facebook respond? If you don’t love the new Messenger or embedded videos, Facebook is all right with that. It doesn’t need you to love them. It just needs them to be just useful enough among your friends that you start using it yourself.

And when it does, Facebook will have wormed its way that much more tightly into your daily life. Because at Facebook, it’s never been about being loved. It’s aways been about being used.

TIME Social Media

Facebook Messenger Is About to Get Way More Useful

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks during his keynote address at Facebook F8 in San Francisco on March 25, 2015.
Robert Galbraith—Reuters Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks during his keynote address at Facebook F8 in San Francisco on March 25, 2015.

Facebook is inviting developers to make apps specifically for Messenger

Facebook is inviting software developers to build programs that will greatly expand the capabilities of its popular Messenger app, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced Wednesday.

Speaking at Facebook’s annual F8 conference, Zuckerberg unveiled Messenger Platform, which allows developers to build apps specifically for Messenger. The platform will open up Messenger’s 600 million monthly users to third-party developers while giving Messenger users a plethora of new features cooked up outside Facebook’s offices.

Messenger users will see two immediate benefits from Messenger Platform. The first is a series of new third-party apps that will let users communicate in ways beyond text. Two new apps Facebook showed off Wednesday, for example, included Ultratext, which sends “eye-popping GIF messages,” and “Ditty,” which makes “every message musical.” Messenger users who receive a message from one of these new third-party apps will also get an invitation to download and install the new app themselves.

Messenger Platform will also support business-to-user messages, which aim to make customer service more efficient and seamless. For example, if you purchase something online, the business could send you a receipt and shipping info via Messenger. You could also send a message back to the business if you need to make changes, like ordering a different size shirt.

“I don’t know anyone who likes calling businesses — it’s just not fast,” Zuckerberg said of the feature, called Businesses on Messenger. “Helping people communicate more naturally with businesses is going to improve almost every person’s life.”

Some of the new Messenger apps will be available immediately, while developers interested in the platform can start designing apps of their own beginning Wednesday. Businesses on Messenger will launch in the next several weeks. Zuckerberg also promised the new platform would bring more feautres to Messenger in the future.

“There are going to be a lot of things we can do with Messenger Platform over time,” he said.

Facebook’s move to open up Messenger to third-party developers mirrors similar steps it took with its main site, leading directly to the rise of Facebook games like Farmville and Mafia Wars.

TIME Crime

Man Arrested After Revealing Hiding Spot on Snapchat

FRANCE-US-IT-INTERNET-SECURITY-SNAPCHAT
LIONEL BONAVENTURE—AFP/Getty Images The logo of mobile app "Snapchat" is displayed on a tablet

Police: "Always remain humble, my friends"

A man was successfully evading arrest for burglary until he sent friends a Snapchat that revealed he was hiding in a cabinet during a police search.

Just as the Somerset, Maine, police were wrapping up what they thought was an unsuccessful search, they received phone calls from people who followed the alleged thief, Christopher Wallace, 24, on Snapchat. According to the police, Wallace shared very specific details about his hiding place in his message.

“A search of the kitchen cabinets turned up some food, some pots and pans, and also a pair of feet,” the police explained on its Facebook page. “The pair of feet just so happened to be attached to a person, and that person was Christopher Wallace. He was removed from the cabinet, and placed under arrest.”

This was Wallace’s second social media gaffe of the day. Earlier Wallace posted to Snapchat that he had returned to his house after weeks on the lam. He allegedly stole a propane cook stove and cast iron wood stove from a campground in January, the Bangor Daily News reports.

Also arrested was 20-year-old Erika Hall, the police’s Facebook explains, for the following: “Hindering apprehension, because…well…let’s put it this way, when the police ask you multiple times if someone is in the house, and you answer repeatedly that they are not in the house, and that you have not seen said person in ‘weeks’, you’re just going to get arrested. That’s how it happens.”

Moral of the story? “Always remain humble, my friends.”

Read next: 8 Outstanding Google Tools You Should Know About

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TIME Social Media

Facebook’s Newest Feature Will Give You Nostalgia Overload

The "Facebook" logo is seen on a tablet screen on Dec. 4, 2012 in Paris.
Lionel Bonaventure — AFP/Getty Images The "Facebook" logo is seen on a tablet screen on Dec. 4, 2012 in Paris.

"On This Day" resurfaces your posts from years ago

Now every day is Throwback Thursday—at least on Facebook.

Facebook unveiled a new feature Tuesday called “On This Day,” which resurfaces posts and photos you shared or were tagged in exactly one year ago, two years ago, and so forth. The digital memories will be available only for you to see, but you can also share them with your friends.

Read More: How to Read the First Facebook Messages You Ever Sent to Your Friends

On This Day appears to be Facebook’s answer to Timehop, a popular “today in history” app for various social media platforms—like Facebook and Twitter—that boasts more than 12 million registered users, half of whom log on each day.

Though Facebook doesn’t exactly need help getting users to check the social media platform daily—it has 890 million daily active users—the company has previously encountered trouble when giving users a ride down memory lane. Last year, the Year in Review feature sparked controversy when it brought back painful memories to some users. As a result, the On This Day algorithm has special rules that will block out past posts involving, for example, former romantic partners or friends who have died, from your News Feed.

Facebook previously tested out a new feature called “Memories” briefly in 2010, but it was never rolled out widely.

 

 

TIME Social Media

Here’s J.K. Rowling’s Perfect Tweet About Dumbledore’s Sexuality

The author often tackles LGBT issues in the wizarding community on social media

Whether she has 896 pages or 140 characters, J.K. Rowling always finds room to spout infinite wisdom.

On Tuesday, a fan tweeted to the social media-friendly writer to ask about Dumbledore being gay, which was revealed after Rowling finished the Harry Potter series. “I wonder why you said that Dumbledore is a gay because I can’t see him in that way,” Ana Kocovic said.

Rowling’s response was short, sassy, and spot on:

The fan responded positively to Rowling’s answer:

This isn’t Rowling’s first time talking about LGBT issues in the wizarding community on Twitter. When a fan asked if Hogwarts was a safe place for LGBT students in December, Rowling responded by tweeting an image made by the Youth Project, based in Nova Scotia:

TIME privacy

Twitter Rolls Out ‘Quality Filter’ to Combat Abuse

Feature targets spam and threatening tweets

Some lucky Twitter users soon won’t have to see tweets that are spammy or abusive.

The social network is rolling out a new feature called the “quality filter,” which will automatically screen out Twitter mentions that come from suspicious accounts, are abusive or threatening or contain duplicate content. The tweets won’t be deleted from Twitter but they will no longer show up in the recipient’s list of notifications. The feature will only be available to verified users, according to Mashable.

The move marks the latest step in Twitter’s campaign to combat abuse on the social network. In December the company introduced new tools to let users more easily report instances of abuse.

[Mashable]

 

TIME Social Media

You Can Now Put Your Exact Location in Tweets

TIME.com stock photos Social Apps iPhone Twitter
Elizabeth Renstrom for TIME

Foursquare co-founder Dennis Crowley views success as getting his product into the hands of hundreds of millions of users

Twitter on Monday announced that it has partnered with Foursquare, a startup focused on local business recommendations, to allow users to include their location in Tweets. Rather than a simple geographic location—e.g. “New York”—Foursquare’s data, which gathers information on venues from billions of user-generated check-ins, is more specific and contextual, e.g. “Time-Life Building.”

Beyond the product implications for Twitter, this deal highlights an aspect of Foursquare that the company is eager to tout: Namely, that Foursquare is sitting on a mountain of data that is valuable enough for a social media giant like Twitter to pay for it.

“The Foursquare platform is a pretty fast-growing SaaS business compared to the other new SaaS businesses we’re invested in,” says Ben Horowitz, a partner at Andreessen Horowitz and board member of Foursquare, using the acronym for software as a service. “To build [Foursquare’s data business] from nothing would be exceptionally difficult.”

Questions have swirled for years about the fate of Foursquare, a beloved New York startup that many believe fell victim to the hype cycle. With $121.4 million in venture backing (and $41 million in debt) but waning popularitywith users, the company has spent the last chapter of its life fighting the impression that it is struggling. Last fall, the company made its biggest bet yet: It split its namesake app into two. Swarm, a new app, is for checking in and sharing your location with friends. The existing Foursquare app is now solely for recommending restaurants and other venues based on your preferences and location.

Foursquare is now working to tell the story of the data it has gleaned from seven billion check-ins at 65 million places. (It also has 70 million user-generated tips and 90 million “tastes.”) More than 85,000 developers have built products using Foursquare’s data. As of last year, most of those developers pay to access the data; that business is poised to make up a third of Foursquare’s revenue this year. The majority of the company’s revenue comes from advertising products. Dennis Crowley, Foursquare’s chief executive, said the company has “more than doubled” its revenue growth each year for the last three years.

The social media data business is a tricky one; many hopeful startups have excitedly gathered data from Tweets and status updates and Likes but struggled to figure out a compelling business use for it. Foursquare is different, Horowitz tells Fortune, because its data contains context and insights around a user’s preferences. “You can’t collect a bunch of data and sell it to people and have that be a business,” he says. “What you can do that can be valuable as a business is collect a lot of data and through some kind of very smart thinking and software, gain valuable insights out of the data.”

Foursquare’s data partners include prominent social networks such as Google’s Waze, Yahoo’s Flickr, Twitter’s Vine, and Pinterest, and mobile systems like Cortana, Microsoft’s answer to Siri. Waze is particularly notable because the company is owned by Google, which collects its own location data through Google Maps. Waze chose Foursquare because of its ability to provide strong recommendations. Still, Foursquare has competition. Last year, Instagram switched from using Foursquare’s location data to using Facebook’s equivalent.

Despite challenges, Crowley has remained focused on his vision of personalized local search and recommendations. That’s what makes the Foursquare story so compelling. Crowley has done things that might look crazy—turning down sizable acquisition offers and putting off life milestones (as articulated by a feature story in Fast Company)—to build his vision. He’s even built the same company twice. (The first iteration, Dodgeball, sold to Google and was eventually shut down.)

Horowitz believes Foursquare can be a startup unicorn, the term for a private company valued at more than $1 billion. “They’re not a billion-dollar company yet. But I think they’ve got a lot of ways to get there,” he tellsFortune. (For a look at of today’s unicorns, see Fortune‘s Unicorn List.)

Crowley views success as getting his product into the hands of hundreds of millions of users, he says, admitting that that’s a huge challenge. The company has 55 million registered users. It won’t disclose how many of those are active, except to say that last year’s app split send one third of active users to Swarm and one third to Foursquare, with one third using both. Crowley notes that Foursquare can be a success without that many users. “Local search monetizes so well, we can be a successful company with a fraction of the users that Twitter and Facebook has,” he says.

His vision includes Foursquare-powered recommendations and location data in many different use cases. “The future of mobile experiences is this proactive element—teaching people stuff about the world without them having to ask,” Crowley says. “I think we’re ahead of that trend and we’re going to end to powering it for a lot of these players.”

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com.


TIME twitter

How Twitter Is Beautiful, Terrible and Addictive All at Once

TIME.com stock photos Social Apps iPhone Twitter
Elizabeth Renstrom for TIME

Looking back at what Twitter has become, nine years in

Of all the apps and services I’ve ever signed up for, the only one I remember plugging my username into for the first time is Twitter. It was May 2007, and I was about to quit a job full of people I loved working with to move across the country and go it alone as a freelancer.

Still relatively new, the 140-character messaging system was originally dreamt up as a small group SMS service, and that’s how I intended to use it. I told my friends to join Twitter so that during my cross-country drive, I could regale them with my hilarious observations and updates.

No one signed up — not even my family.

Funny enough, it wasn’t for another another seven months that I made my first post on Twitter, but I’m reminded of this story with March 21, the ninth anniversary of the first ever tweet, just around the corner.

Since that time, the service has evolved in ways that few people, if anyone, could foresee — so much so that Twitter is now a company valued at more than $30 billion. But that figure doesn’t care a lick that the service was SMS-based back when I signed up, or even that it has 288 million users today. Stock market numbers only care where a company is headed, and when it comes to Twitter, that’s the most interesting thing of all.

According to company lore, the service got its first shot of what we now call “social amplification” at the South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive Festival in March 2007, when bloggers, coders, and techies of all stripes took the service, enticed by tweets displayed on flat-panel screens in the hallways, then a tech show’s novelty which has since become a conference stalwart.

“I thought it sounded like an atrocious waste of time — it sounded trivial and like a distraction — and I didn’t want to have anything to do with it,” says Marshall Kirkpatrick, then a writer for TechCrunch and a SXSW attendee who signed up for the service that month. Kirkpatrick only planned to use Twitter to gather information to make the most of his festival experience. Afterwards, he was going to shut down his account.

“Of course, it didn’t end up that way,” he says.

After SXSW, Kirkpatrick continued to use the service to break stories well before his competition by following software engineers and people working in the middle of organizations, rather than company founders and outspoken evangelists. In fact, Kirkpatrick got so adept at Twitter that even Mashable has said it learned how to use the social network to uncover stories by watching him. Yet perhaps the most remarkable thing about the stories Kirkpatrick broke — such as the launch of Google+, months before it was even announced — was that he did it all from a perch outside Silicon Valley in Portland, Ore.

“The great thing about Twitter is that it’s global, it’s real-time, anyone can publish, and anyone can read, as well,” he says.

And in that way, Twitter has decentralized, well, everything. When you think of your favorite Twitter follows and followers today, you probably don’t even consider where they are located. Whether they tweet about conservative politics, the Detroit Lions, luxury watches, or home brewing, Twitter users seem to be located online more than any real geographic spot. And over the past nine years, as the service has grown in users, matured in its usage, and evolved from being a chatterbox for San Francisco-based techies to a mainstream, worldwide mode of communication, Twitter has either aped the trend of location-agnostic expertise, ushered it in, or both. This has not only had a profound effect on our economy, but also in how we get work done.

To whit, four and a half years after vowing to quit Twitter, Kirkpatrick founded Little Bird, a company that mines the social web to find topic-based influencers for marketers. With at least $3.4 million in funding from various venture capital investors including Mark Cuban, the company now boasts big name clients like Comcast and IBM. But more importantly, Little Bird shows how Twitter has allowed someone to move from selling his information to selling his expertise, a distinction that might seem fine but becomes markedly different when counting all the extra the zeros on the checks. And nine years in, that’s the difference between a 140-character messaging service and a $30 billion economic force, if only through one example.

With one billion tweets sent nearly every two days, Twitter has become something nearly impossible to describe, because it’s different for every user. Though I never actually used it to liveblog my road trip, it’s likely that millions of other people have. And while Kirkpatrick used Twitter to dredge up stories, I treat the network as my virtual water cooler, a place where I can chat with co-workers and peers, even though I work alone. Meanwhile, some use Twitter to curate their news sources, while others rely on it to follow stories as they break. From Abbottabad to the Boston Marathon to Ferguson, Twitter consistently beat the press as the events unfolded, making journalists like myself wonder if guys like Kirkpatrick were ahead of the pack, yet again, getting out of this line of work.

Read more: Twitter Looks Back on Its 9-Year History, in Tweets

But all those examples are narrow in scope to my experience with Twitter. Entire conferences run their commentary on the site. Software and machines are driven by tweets. Mobile payments run across the service. People can now use their phones to broadcast video to millions, at a moment’s notice, over the social network.

So today, Twitter is — as Kirkpatrick puts it — a big, noisy channel of human communication. But as proud as we are of our tweets of Babel, that means the social network is also chock-full examples of humanity at its worst. In the highest-profile examples of our shamefulness, Twitter has disassembled people and careers before the public’s very eyes. And at its most hateful, the short messaging site has pushed beyond cyber-bullying into real-world suicides, a horrid reality that makes us wish this thing really was just a trivial distraction, after all. Most recently (and notably), Gamergate, Curt Schilling, and Ashley Judd, have begun to show Twitter users that just because you can, that doesn’t mean you should. But then again, if hundreds of thousands of years of evolution haven’t taught us to mind our manners, 140 characters are unlikely to either.

As to what Twitter itself will become over the next nine years, that’s anyone’s guess. Critics argue that the service needs to find a way to manage its noise, while investors want to see more users take to the site (making the task of wrangling those tweets even more important). Meanwhile, fans laud Twitter’s firehose of a feed, a key differentiator between it and Facebook. But if we’re going to mention the other major social network, it’s worth noting that Zuckerberg’s baby has almost five times more users, with 1.39 billion monthly actives.

To match Facebook’s reach, Twitter must find a way to lure users who — despite being deeply (if obliviously) affected by the short missives that flash across its transom — still deem it a giant waste of time. Remarkably, for a site so influential, nine years in, most people I know in the real world still don’t use Twitter. Not even my family.

 

TIME technology

See How a Celebrated Photographer Plans to Use Snapchat

Alec Soth, a Minnesota artist, in St. Paul, Minn. on Feb. 24, 2015.
Jenn Ackermann—The New York Times/Redux Alec Soth, a Minnesota artist, in St. Paul, Minn. on Feb. 24, 2015.

Magnum Photos member Alec Soth will share images that disappear after 10 seconds

Alec Soth has, over his years as a photographer, developed a reputation for experimentation within his craft.

In 2010, when he was invited by the Brighton Photo Festival in the U.K. to produce a new series of images about the coastal town, he found himself in an immigration quagmire that kept him from shooting any photographs. Instead, he gave the camera to his daughter, who produced the images for him.

Now, his latest experiment is once again linked to his relationship with his daughter, now a teenager and an avid user of the photo-sharing app Snapchat.

“Like a lot of middle-aged people I didn’t have a clue as to what Snapchat was about,” Soth tells TIME. “I heard about that sexting stereotype, and I just didn’t understand it.”

But Soth remembered that he felt the same way when Twitter launched in 2006 and gained popularity in 2010, and with Instagram when it took the world of photography by storm. “I was very anti-Instagram for a long time,” he says. “And then the pressure to get into it became too strong. That’s when I realized that it was fascinating.”

With Snapchat, where any images and videos shared disappear forever after 10 seconds, Soth was curious to explore how it had become a communication platform for his daughter and many of her peers. “My experience on Snapchat is very different to my experience on Instagram,” he says. “Snapchat seems best suited for direct communication, and because I’m a middle-aged man, it was hard to use in that way. I didn’t have friends on it.”

But, as he started testing the service, he felt a sense of liberation, he tells TIME. “On Instagram, I’m identified as a photographer, so I felt this pressure that I’m supposed to make photographs, serious photographs. With Snapchat, I felt kind of relieved that I could be like anyone else and show glimpses of my life.”

“There’s this desire to do that, to share fleeting moments of one’s life,” he continues. “People mock this: why photograph your breakfast. But I don’t put it down. It’s an impulse, and I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad one. It fundamentally doesn’t seem different from an art impulse.”

Now, Soth is taking it one step further. He’s partnered with the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Minn., as part of the cultural institution’s Intangibles pop-up shop, which sells original and curated art works.

For $100, visitors can buy an interactive Snapchat conversation with Soth. “The idea is that they will get a minimum of 25 pictures from me,” he says. “Ideally, I’ll see it as a conversation: What do you want me to photograph?” The goal, Soth explains, is to talk with pictures, similarly to what his daughter already does with her friends on Snapchat.

Once the conversation is over, the Walker Art Center will interview the buyers and “publish a non-visual documentation of their experience,” the Center says.

The work, called Disappear With Me, has already sold out.

For Soth, the experiment is about his own curiosity, he says. “I’m just trying to figure out how this works, learn from it, and see where technology goes from there.”

As for his daughter, she finds the experiment ridiculous, Soth says. “Just yesterday my daughter found out about this. She thought it was the most absurd thing in the world that someone would pay money [for images that disappear]. She said, Maybe if you’re Ariana Grande. But, otherwise, why on Earth?”

Alec Soth is a photographer born and based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is represented by Magnum Photos.

Olivier Laurent is the editor of TIME LightBox. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @olivierclaurent

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