In 1600, actor William Kemp was challenged to morris dance his way from London to Norwich. He accepted the bet and completed his journey – a distance of about 100 miles – in nine days (spread out over a few weeks).

So was born the phrase “nine-day wonder”, to describe someone or something that suddenly gains fame, only to quickly fade from the spotlight.

Fame no longer requires nine days – or even Andy Warhol’s celebrated 15 minutes. For the Snapchat generation, all it takes is 10 seconds.

From fish-gape selfies with a dog-ears filter to product launches, the image and video-messaging app has caught the imagination of about 150 million people who upload more than 9,000 snaps a second, which are viewed 10 billion times a day.

But what has really taken local digital analysts by surprise is the speed at which the social-media platform is being adopted in the Middle East – and the micro-celebrity industry it has created.

A global study of 70,000 consumers by global market research consultancy Kantar TNS, published in September, found that the proportion of internet users in the UAE who use Snapchat grew from 15 per cent in 2014 to 53 per cent this year. These outpace the global figures, which were 12 per cent in 2014 and 23 per cent this year.

The popularity of the app, which allows users to capture and share a photo or video that is only available to view for 24 hours before it is deleted, ties into the growing youth population in the Middle East and their need to find creative ways to express themselves.

“Snapchat has an appeal among the 13 to 34-year-old age group,” says Bhomik Chandna, head of media and digital solutions for the Mena region at brands consultancy Kantar Millward Brown. “And that’s why it is picking up really fast in the region. Especially in Saudi Arabia, given the fewer forms of entertainment there.”.. see more