Abilene, TX, United States
Abilene, TX, United States

Abilene Christian University is a private university located in Abilene, in the U.S. state of Texas, affiliated with Churches of Christ. ACU was founded in 1906, as Childers Classical Institute. Abilene Christian University's fall 2014 enrollment is 4,427 students of which 777 are graduate students. The number of students enrolled breaks down to 1,112 freshmen, 806 sophomores, 762 juniors, 892 seniors, 78 “non-traditional” and 777 graduate students.The retention rate, the percentage of last year’s freshmen returning to campus, went down to 75.1 percent from 79.4 percent, a 4.3 percent decrease. Six years ago, the university set a retention rate goal of 80 percent, but the average since has been 75.2 percent.- See more at: http:/2014ethnicity-up-with-slight-enrollment-decrease/#sthash.uX0EnysS.dpuf Wikipedia.


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News Article | February 15, 2017
Site: www.prweb.com

The Community for Accredited Online Schools, a leading resource provider for higher education information, has released its list of the Best Online Colleges in Texas for 2017. Highlighting both two- and four-year schools, more than 90 Texas colleges received accolades, with the University of Texas at Austin, Texas A&M University, University of North Texas, Texas Tech University and Baylor University coming in as the top four-year schools and St. Philip’s College, Odessa College, Del Mar College, Western Texas College and Texas State Technical College Waco ranking highest among two-year schools. “About 1.5 million students enrolled in post-secondary education in Texas in fall 2016,” said Doug Jones, CEO and founder of AccreditedSchoolsOnline.org. “As Internet-based coursework becomes more accessible, students may find that online programs suit their needs better. Schools on our list have been ranked for overall quality, providing excellent options for anyone who wants more flexible education options.” To determine the Best Online Schools in Texas, each college in the state was evaluated using over a dozen unique data points to find which schools best meet students’ needs, including graduation rates, career placement services and financial aid availability. AccreditedSchoolsOnline.org also requires each school highlighted on the lists to carry institutional accreditation and hold public or private not-for-profit status. Find each school’s score and ranking or read more about the data and methodology used to determine the lists here: The Best Four-Year Online Schools in Texas for 2017 include the following: Abilene Christian University Angelo State University Baylor University Concordia University-Texas Dallas Baptist University Dallas Christian College Grace School of Theology Houston Baptist University Howard Payne University Lamar University LeTourneau University Lubbock Christian University Messenger College Midwestern State University Our Lady of the Lake University Prairie View A & M University Sam Houston State University Schreiner University Southern Methodist University Southwestern Adventist University Southwestern Assemblies of God University St Mary's University Stephen F Austin State University Sul Ross State University Tarleton State University Texas A & M International University Texas A & M University-College Station Texas A & M University-Commerce Texas A & M University-Corpus Christi Texas A & M University-Kingsville Texas A & M University-Texarkana Texas Christian University Texas Southern University Texas State University Texas Tech University Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center Texas Woman's University The University of Texas at Arlington The University of Texas at Austin The University of Texas at Dallas The University of Texas at El Paso The University of Texas at Tyler The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio The University of Texas of the Permian Basin The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Trinity University University of Dallas University of Houston University of Houston-Clear Lake The Best Two-Year Online Schools in Texas for 2017 include the following: Alvin Community College Amarillo College Austin Community College District Central Texas College College of the Mainland Collin College Del Mar College El Paso Community College Frank Phillips College Grayson College Houston Community College Kilgore College Lamar Institute of Technology Lamar State College-Port Arthur Lone Star College Navarro College North Central Texas College Northwest Vista College Odessa College Palo Alto College Panola College San Antonio College South Plains College St Philip's College Tarrant County College District Temple College Texas State Technical College - West Texas Texas State Technical College-Waco Trinity Valley Community College Tyler Junior College Western Texas College ### About Us: AccreditedSchoolsOnline.org was founded in 2011 to provide students and parents with quality data and information about pursuing an affordable, quality education that has been certified by an accrediting agency. Our community resource materials and tools span topics such as college accreditation, financial aid, opportunities available to veterans, people with disabilities, as well as online learning resources. We feature higher education institutions that have developed online learning programs that include highly trained faculty, new technology and resources, and online support services to help students achieve educational success. environments that include highly trained faculty, new technology and resources, and online support services to help students achieve educational and career success.


IRVING, Texas, March 02, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Reata Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq:RETA) (“Reata” or “the Company”), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, today announced the resignation of Dennis Stone, M.D., from and the appointment of William D. McClellan, Jr., to the Board of Directors. Effective as of March 1, 2017, Dennis Stone, M.D., tendered his resignation as a member of the Board.  Dr. Stone resigned his Board membership to focus his attention on personal health issues.  His resignation was not due to any disagreement with the Company, its management, or the Board. Since 2002, Dr. Stone has provided valuable medical insight and strategic leadership to the Company.  Dr. Stone served as a non-independent director.  “We thank Dennis for his many years of service to our Company and his leadership since the early days of Reata,” said Reata’s Chief Executive Officer and President, Warren Huff.  “We will miss his valuable advice and counsel.” Effective as of March 1, 2017, the Board appointed William D. McClellan, Jr., to the Board as a director.  Mr. McClellan has been appointed as a member of the Compensation Committee and Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee, and he has been appointed as Chair of the Audit Committee. Mr. McClellan is a financial management consultant to healthcare and life sciences companies.  From June 2004 until June 2016, he was the Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President of Finance of On-X Life Technologies Holdings, Inc., a medical device company.  He also currently serves on the board of directors, and as Chair of the Audit Committee, of Apollo Endosurgery, Inc., a publicly-traded company. “Bill is an experienced and trusted financial professional,” said Reata’s Chief Executive Officer and President, Warren Huff.  “We believe his expertise will be invaluable to us as we transition from the development stage to a commercial enterprise.” Mr. McClellan received a BBA in accounting from Abilene Christian University and is a Certified Public Accountant. Reata Pharmaceuticals, Inc., is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company that develops novel therapeutics for patients with serious or life-threatening diseases by targeting molecular pathways involved in the regulation of cellular metabolism and inflammation.  Reata’s two most advanced clinical candidates (bardoxolone methyl and omaveloxolone) target an important transcription factor, called Nrf2, to restore mitochondrial function, reduce oxidative stress, and resolve inflammation. This press release includes certain disclosures which contain “forward-looking statements,” including, without limitation, statements regarding the success, cost and timing of our product development activities and clinical trials, our plans to research, develop and commercialize our product candidates, and our ability to obtain and retain regulatory approval of our product candidates.  You can identify forward-looking statements because they contain words such as “believes,” “will,” “may,” “aims,” “plans” and “expects.”  Forward-looking statements are based on Reata’s current expectations and assumptions.  Because forward-looking statements relate to the future, they are subject to inherent uncertainties, risks and changes in circumstances that may differ materially from those contemplated by the forward-looking statements, which are neither statements of historical fact nor guarantees or assurances of future performance.  Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements are set forth in Reata’s filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, including its Registration Statement on Form S-1, as amended from time to time, under the caption “Risk Factors.”  The forward-looking statements speak only as of the date made and, other than as required by law, we undertake no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise.


Huddleston J.R.,Abilene Christian University
Infection and Drug Resistance | Year: 2014

Bacterial infections are becoming increasingly difficult to treat due to widespread antibiotic resistance among pathogens. This review aims to give an overview of the major horizontal transfer mechanisms and their evolution and then demonstrate the human lower gastrointestinal tract as an environment in which horizontal gene transfer of resistance determinants occurs. Finally, implications for antibiotic usage and the development of resistant infections and persistence of antibiotic resistance genes in populations as a result of horizontal gene transfer in the large intestine will be discussed. © 2014 Huddleston.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: LIGO RESEARCH SUPPORT | Award Amount: 101.25K | Year: 2015

This project continues the development and use of advanced software algorithms to search for gravitational waves - ripples in spacetime predicted by Einsteins theory of gravity - in data from the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO). These are a predicted signature of some of the most energetic events in the universe, including neutron stars and black holes that orbit one another and spiral inwards and collide. The detection of gravitational waves from such collisions will allow a direct confirmation of this prediction of Einsteins theory, and will also allow measurement of the properties of the neutron stars or black holes whose collision generated the waves. Such properties are often difficult to measure indirectly through present observations with telescopes and satellites. The broader impacts of this proposal will include the training of undergraduate students in the nascent field of gravitational wave astronomy, and dissemination of the first results of that field to the broader public through short videos and public talks.

The specific problem this proposal will address is the tuning and deployment of an offline, matched-filter search for compact binary coalescing sources for non-spinning and aligned-spin systems, and the development and testing of a search for precessing spin systems. This will be done using the PyCBC pipeline toolkit of which the PI is a developer, and the tuning studies and investigation of precessing searches will each test the detection sensitivity of their respective searches on Mock Data Challenge (MDC) data collected from earlier LIGO running and engineering runs. These detection sensitivity studies will in turn be used to decide on tuning choices, and for precessing searches, whether overall detection efficiency is improved by searching over a precessing waveform template parameter space. Broader impacts will be achieved by involving undergraduates in this research both locally at ACU, and by traveling to the Albert Einstein Institute in Hannover, Germany. Additionally, public outreach will continue the sequence of short, educational videos that the PI and his students have already made on relativity.


Patent
Abilene Christian University | Date: 2012-07-19

A mobile application for facilitating the organization and conduction of group discussions and activities. The mobile application comprises a predefined menu having a predefined set of menu options which have data fields for a master user to input the desired parameters. The mobile application sends commands which divide a group into subgroups based on predefined parameters. The mobile application is accessed by participants of subgroups. The mobile application sends topics and prompts, which comprise any sort of input, participation or contribution by the participants of the subgroups desired by the master user. The mobile application provides a reporting menu to a participant of each subgroup for reporting on the subgroups activities or discussions at the conclusion of a session. The mobile application provides evaluation menus to the participants of the subgroups to allow them to evaluate aspects of the group session, and send the evaluations to the master user.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: ASSEMBLING THE TREE OF LIFE | Award Amount: 104.87K | Year: 2011

Echinoderms include familiar animals such as starfishes, sea urchins, and a wide array of extinct forms stretching back to the Cambrian Period, circa 500 million years ago. Echinoderms share a common ancestor with backboned animals and thus provide a crucial link to understanding a huge portion of the entire tree of life as well as the history of our species. This project, the Echinoderm Tree of Life Project, will resolve the phylogenetic placement of Echinoderms within the tree of life and clarify important unresolved relationships among major echinoderm lineages using data from genetic sequencing and anatomy.

Echinoderms are fascinating, and their unique features, such as mutable ligaments and novel means of detecting light, have biomedical engineering applications. Because research on such marine animals and their adaptations is naturally attractive to young people, excellent students are expected to be recruited and the importance of science will be communicated to a broad audience. Long-term impacts, embodied by scientific publications, textbooks, anatomical and genomic data, and extensive pages in the Tree of Life and Encyclopedia of Life web projects, will provide resources to researchers and educators. Outreach will include videos and broadcasts about marine exploration and applications of fundamental biological research across the biomedical sciences.


News Article | March 2, 2017
Site: hosted2.ap.org

(AP) — Snapchat parent Snap Inc. started its official bid to go public last Halloween. Now investors get to learn whether they're in for a trick or a treat. Snap passed its first major test on Wall Street on Wednesday, when the company priced its initial public offering of 200 million non-voting shares at $17 each. That's above the expected range of $14 to $16. Snap is expected to start trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday under the symbol "SNAP." Snap's IPO is one of the most anticipated for a technology company since Twitter's stock market debut in 2013. That, in turn, had created the biggest stir since Facebook took its first bow on Wall Street in 2012. Twitter is now valued at $11 billion, while Facebook is $395 billion. Snap's pricing values the Los Angeles company at $24 billion. Snap's Snapchat app is best known for disappearing messages and quirky facial filters for jazzing up selfies. It's popular with teenagers and younger millennials. While Facebook launched in the era of desktop computers and Twitter in text-based mobile, Snapchat jumped straight to photos and videos. In a sense, it's ahead of the game. But its user growth has slowed down in recent months. Blame Facebook. Growth slowed to a crawl since Facebook's Instagram cloned Snapchat's "stories" in August. With the feature, photos and videos shared by users play in a loop for 24 hours, then disappear. The feature helped Snapchat recover from stagnant growth before, but now it's no longer unique to Snapchat. After adding 36 million daily active users during the first half of last year, Snapchat picked up just 15 million in the second half. The number of people downloading Instagram's app has been accelerating during the past six months, suggesting a gradual shift away from the Snapchat app, based on an analysis financial advice site ValuePenguin did of activity in Apple's app store. While the higher-than-expected pricing looks good for Snap, its troubles aren't over. "What that number means for the longer term — very little," said Chi-Hua Chien, managing partner at Goodwater Capital who originated the VC firm Accel Partners' investment in Facebook and later invested in Twitter while at another firm. Twitter, for example, shot up nearly 73 percent on its first trading day and now trades well below its IPO price. Facebook, meanwhile, saw its stock decline sharply for a few months after going public. Now, it's trading more than three times its IPO price, near a record high. Snapchat started 2017 with 158 million daily active users, most of whom are people in their teens, 20s and early 30s. But many of them are finding Snapchat harder to fit in with daily life. Evan Rodriguez, a 20-year old student at Abilene Christian University in Texas, used to send snaps of funny stuff he saw throughout the day, just as his friends did. For instance, he might take video of a friend walking across campus and send it via Snapchat — "Hey, I see you!" But something about the whole thing "just became cumbersome," Rodriguez said. "It was like one more thing to do." Celia Schlekewey, a 20-year-old University of Washington student who also works at a small business, liked the fact that when she first joined, it was "all just about sending pictures to your friends." Over time, the stories feature became a "big deal," and keeping up with friends and famous people became time-consuming. "It got to the point that if I wanted to keep up with everyone's story, I'd have to sit on my phone and watch it for 25 minutes," she said. Easing this feeling of pressure will be key for Snapchat, especially if it wants to attract older users. They might not have as much time — or might not feel like spending that time on social media — as their young millennial counterparts. Since Snapchat was never about typing, the phone's camera is already its main focus. In fact, CEO Evan Spiegel has taken to calling it a "camera company," and this is how the company describes itself in its IPO documents. That doesn't necessarily just mean that Snap wants to make cameras, though last year it launched Spectacles, actual physical sunglasses that snap photos for you. Snapchat is more about image-based communication, said Chien of Goodwater Capital. Open the app, and you open a camera. Turn the camera to selfie mode, and you get a bunch of filters to overlay on your face. Because the images you send eventually disappear, there's less pressure to put forward your best self. Snapchat has often drawn comparisons to both Twitter, which also faces stagnant growth, and Facebook, whose users are highly engaged, just like Snapchat's. Ultimately, Snap doesn't have to be like either to succeed and can forge its own path and identity. LaVon Murphy, 45, a photographer in Portland, Oregon, uses Facebook to keep up with friends, Instagram to express herself through pictures and Twitter to keep up with the news. She added Snapchat recently to stay in touch with her 17-year-old son. "I don't really understand why he and his friends use the app so extensively, but I am trying to keep up," she said. "It allows me to be silly and show a silly side of myself to my son and it allows him to be silly with me." Snap just needs millions more like Murphy willing to make time for yet another social network.


News Article | March 1, 2017
Site: hosted2.ap.org

(AP) — For Snap Inc., a social media company that started its official bid to go public last Halloween, the looming question now is whether investors are in for a trick or a treat. Snap passed its first major test on Wall Street on Wednesday, when the company behind the popular messaging app Snapchat priced its initial public offering of 200 million shares at $17 each. That's above the expected range of $14 to $16. Snap is expected to start trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday under the symbol "SNAP." Snap's IPO is one of the most anticipated for a technology company since Twitter's stock market debut in 2013. That, in turn, had created the biggest stir since Facebook took its first bow on Wall Street in 2012. Twitter is now valued at $11 billion, while Facebook is $393 billion. Snap's pricing values the Los Angeles company at $24 billion. Snap's Snapchat app is best known for disappearing messages and quirky facial filters for jazzing up selfies. It's popular with teenagers and younger millennials. While Facebook launched in the era of desktop computers and Twitter in text-based mobile, Snapchat jumped straight to photos and videos. In a sense, it's ahead of the game. But its user growth has slowed down in recent months. Blame Facebook. Growth slowed to a crawl since Facebook's Instagram cloned Snapchat's "stories" in August. With the feature, photos and videos shared by users play in a loop for 24 hours, then disappear. The feature helped Snapchat recover from stagnant growth before, but now it's no longer unique to Snapchat. After adding 36 million daily active users during the first half of last year, Snapchat picked up just 15 million in the second half. The number of people downloading Instagram's app has been accelerating during the past six months, suggesting a gradual shift away from the Snapchat app, based on an analysis financial advice site ValuePenguin did of activity in Apple's app store. Snapchat started 2017 with 158 million daily active users, most of whom are people in their teens, 20s and early 30s. But many of them are finding Snapchat harder to fit in with daily life. Evan Rodriguez, a 20-year old student at Texas Abilene Christian University, used to send snaps of funny stuff he saw throughout the day, just as his friends did. For instance, he might take video of a friend walking across campus and send it via Snapchat — "Hey, I see you!" But something about the whole thing "just became cumbersome," Rodriguez said. "It was like one more thing to do." Celia Schlekewey, a 20-year-old University of Washington student who also works at a small business, liked the fact that when she first joined, it was "all just about sending pictures to your friends." Over time, the stories feature became a "big deal," and keeping up with friends and famous people became time-consuming. "It got to the point that if I wanted to keep up with everyone's story, I'd have to sit on my phone and watch it for 25 minutes," she said. Easing this feeling of pressure will be key for Snapchat, especially if it wants to attract older users. They might not have as much time — or might not feel like spending that time on social media — as their young millennial counterparts. Since Snapchat was never about typing, the phone's camera is already its main focus. In fact, CEO Evan Spiegel has taken to calling it a "camera company," and this is how the company describes itself in its IPO documents. That doesn't necessarily just mean that Snap wants to make cameras, though last year it launched Spectacles, actual physical sunglasses that snap photos for you. Snapchat is more about image-based communication, said Chi-Hua Chien, managing partner at Goodwater Capital who originated the VC firm Accel Partners' investment in Facebook and later invested in Twitter while at another firm. Open the app, and you open a camera. Turn the camera to selfie mode, and you get a bunch of filters to overlay on your face. Because the images you send eventually disappear, there's less pressure to put forward your best self. Snapchat has often drawn comparisons to both Twitter, which also faces stagnant growth, and Facebook, whose users are highly engaged, just like Snapchat's. Ultimately, Snap doesn't have to be like either to succeed and can forge its own path and identity. LaVon Murphy, 45, a photographer in Portland, Oregon, uses Facebook to keep up with friends, Instagram to express herself through pictures and Twitter to keep up with the news. She added Snapchat recently to stay in touch with her 17-year-old son. "I don't really understand why he and his friends use the app so extensively, but I am trying to keep up," she said. "It allows me to be silly and show a silly side of myself to my son and it allows him to be silly with me." Snap just needs millions more like Murphy willing to make time for yet another social network.


News Article | March 2, 2017
Site: hosted2.ap.org

(AP) — The company behind the popular messaging app Snapchat is expected to start trading Thursday after a better-than-expected stock offering. Snap Inc. passed its first major test on Wall Street on Wednesday as it priced its initial public offering of 200 million shares at $17 each. That is above the expected range of $14 to $16 and values the Los Angeles company at $24 billion. Snap's IPO is one of the most anticipated for a technology company since Twitter's stock market debut in 2013. Co-founders Evan Spiegel and Robert Murphy will retain controlling power over all matters at Snap; the Class A stock being sold in the IPO has no voting power. Snap is getting the ticker symbol "SNAP" on the New York Stock Exchange. For Snap, which started its official bid to go public last Halloween, the looming question now is whether investors are in for a trick or a treat. Snap's Snapchat app is best known for disappearing messages and quirky facial filters for jazzing up selfies. It's popular with teenagers and younger millennials. While Facebook launched in the era of desktop computers and Twitter in text-based mobile, Snapchat jumped straight to photos and videos. In a sense, it's ahead of the game. But its user growth has slowed down in recent months. Blame Facebook. Growth slowed to a crawl since Facebook's Instagram cloned Snapchat's "stories" in August. With the feature, photos and videos shared by users play in a loop for 24 hours, then disappear. The feature helped Snapchat recover from stagnant growth before, but now it's no longer unique to Snapchat. After adding 36 million daily active users during the first half of last year, Snapchat picked up just 15 million in the second half. The number of people downloading Instagram's app has been accelerating during the past six months, suggesting a gradual shift away from the Snapchat app, based on an analysis financial advice site ValuePenguin did of activity in Apple's app store. While the higher-than-expected pricing looks good for Snap, its troubles aren't over. "What that number means for the longer term — very little," said Chi-Hua Chien, managing partner at Goodwater Capital who originated the VC firm Accel Partners' investment in Facebook and later invested in Twitter while at another firm. Twitter, for example, shot up nearly 73 percent on its first trading day and now trades well below its IPO price. Facebook, meanwhile, saw its stock decline sharply for a few months after going public. Now, it's trading more than three times its IPO price, near a record high. Snapchat started 2017 with 158 million daily active users, most of whom are people in their teens, 20s and early 30s. But many of them are finding Snapchat harder to fit in with daily life. Evan Rodriguez, a 20-year old student at Abilene Christian University in Texas, used to send snaps of funny stuff he saw throughout the day, just as his friends did. For instance, he might take video of a friend walking across campus and send it via Snapchat — "Hey, I see you!" But something about the whole thing "just became cumbersome," Rodriguez said. "It was like one more thing to do." Celia Schlekewey, a 20-year-old University of Washington student who also works at a small business, liked the fact that when she first joined, it was "all just about sending pictures to your friends." Over time, the stories feature became a "big deal," and keeping up with friends and famous people became time-consuming. "It got to the point that if I wanted to keep up with everyone's story, I'd have to sit on my phone and watch it for 25 minutes," she said. Easing this feeling of pressure will be key for Snapchat, especially if it wants to attract older users. They might not have as much time — or might not feel like spending that time on social media — as their young millennial counterparts. Since Snapchat was never about typing, the phone's camera is already its main focus. In fact, CEO Evan Spiegel has taken to calling it a "camera company," and this is how the company describes itself in its IPO documents. That doesn't necessarily just mean that Snap wants to make cameras, though last year it launched Spectacles, actual physical sunglasses that snap photos for you. Snapchat is more about image-based communication, said Chien of Goodwater Capital. Open the app, and you open a camera. Turn the camera to selfie mode, and you get a bunch of filters to overlay on your face. Because the images you send eventually disappear, there's less pressure to put forward your best self. Snapchat has often drawn comparisons to both Twitter, which also faces stagnant growth, and Facebook, whose users are highly engaged, just like Snapchat's. Ultimately, Snap doesn't have to be like either to succeed and can forge its own path and identity. LaVon Murphy, 45, a photographer in Portland, Oregon, uses Facebook to keep up with friends, Instagram to express herself through pictures and Twitter to keep up with the news. She added Snapchat recently to stay in touch with her 17-year-old son. "I don't really understand why he and his friends use the app so extensively, but I am trying to keep up," she said. "It allows me to be silly and show a silly side of myself to my son and it allows him to be silly with me." Snap just needs millions more like Murphy willing to make time for yet another social network.


News Article | March 1, 2017
Site: phys.org

Snap passed its first major test on Wall Street on Wednesday, when the company priced its initial public offering of 200 million non-voting shares at $17 each. That's above the expected range of $14 to $16. Snap is expected to start trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday under the symbol "SNAP." Snap's IPO is one of the most anticipated for a technology company since Twitter's stock market debut in 2013. That, in turn, had created the biggest stir since Facebook took its first bow on Wall Street in 2012. Twitter is now valued at $11 billion, while Facebook is $395 billion. Snap's pricing values the Los Angeles company at $24 billion. Snap's Snapchat app is best known for disappearing messages and quirky facial filters for jazzing up selfies. It's popular with teenagers and younger millennials. While Facebook launched in the era of desktop computers and Twitter in text-based mobile, Snapchat jumped straight to photos and videos. In a sense, it's ahead of the game. But its user growth has slowed down in recent months. Blame Facebook. Growth slowed to a crawl since Facebook's Instagram cloned Snapchat's "stories" in August. With the feature, photos and videos shared by users play in a loop for 24 hours, then disappear. The feature helped Snapchat recover from stagnant growth before, but now it's no longer unique to Snapchat. After adding 36 million daily active users during the first half of last year, Snapchat picked up just 15 million in the second half. The number of people downloading Instagram's app has been accelerating during the past six months, suggesting a gradual shift away from the Snapchat app, based on an analysis financial advice site ValuePenguin did of activity in Apple's app store. While the higher-than-expected pricing looks good for Snap, its troubles aren't over. "What that number means for the longer term—very little," said Chi-Hua Chien, managing partner at Goodwater Capital who originated the VC firm Accel Partners' investment in Facebook and later invested in Twitter while at another firm. Twitter, for example, shot up nearly 73 percent on its first trading day and now trades well below its IPO price. Facebook, meanwhile, saw its stock decline sharply for a few months after going public. Now, it's trading more than three times its IPO price, near a record high. Snapchat started 2017 with 158 million daily active users, most of whom are people in their teens, 20s and early 30s. But many of them are finding Snapchat harder to fit in with daily life. Evan Rodriguez, a 20-year old student at Abilene Christian University in Texas, used to send snaps of funny stuff he saw throughout the day, just as his friends did. For instance, he might take video of a friend walking across campus and send it via Snapchat—"Hey, I see you!" But something about the whole thing "just became cumbersome," Rodriguez said. "It was like one more thing to do." Celia Schlekewey, a 20-year-old University of Washington student who also works at a small business, liked the fact that when she first joined, it was "all just about sending pictures to your friends." Over time, the stories feature became a "big deal," and keeping up with friends and famous people became time-consuming. "It got to the point that if I wanted to keep up with everyone's story, I'd have to sit on my phone and watch it for 25 minutes," she said. Easing this feeling of pressure will be key for Snapchat, especially if it wants to attract older users. They might not have as much time—or might not feel like spending that time on social media—as their young millennial counterparts. Since Snapchat was never about typing, the phone's camera is already its main focus. In fact, CEO Evan Spiegel has taken to calling it a "camera company," and this is how the company describes itself in its IPO documents. That doesn't necessarily just mean that Snap wants to make cameras, though last year it launched Spectacles, actual physical sunglasses that snap photos for you. Snapchat is more about image-based communication, said Chien of Goodwater Capital. Open the app, and you open a camera. Turn the camera to selfie mode, and you get a bunch of filters to overlay on your face. Because the images you send eventually disappear, there's less pressure to put forward your best self. Snapchat has often drawn comparisons to both Twitter, which also faces stagnant growth, and Facebook, whose users are highly engaged, just like Snapchat's. Ultimately, Snap doesn't have to be like either to succeed and can forge its own path and identity. LaVon Murphy, 45, a photographer in Portland, Oregon, uses Facebook to keep up with friends, Instagram to express herself through pictures and Twitter to keep up with the news. She added Snapchat recently to stay in touch with her 17-year-old son. "I don't really understand why he and his friends use the app so extensively, but I am trying to keep up," she said. "It allows me to be silly and show a silly side of myself to my son and it allows him to be silly with me." Snap just needs millions more like Murphy willing to make time for yet another social network. Explore further: Snap values itself at up to $22B ahead of IPO

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