The Snapchat Craze: If You See Something, Snap Something

Sophie Houser, ‘15

Last week, as I laughed out loud while taking a photo of my childhood teddy bear on the toilet, my mom looked up from her computer and uttered some of the truest words I’ve ever heard her say: “Sophie, Snapchat is clearly your creative outlet.”

Snapchat, an app available for smartphones, is an important outlet for many others as well; people send over 400 million images via Snapchat every day. Snapchat allows users to take photos or short videos and add captions or draw on the images. Users then send the images to designated “Snapchat friends.” The image is fleeting; it disappears after up to 10 seconds (unless the viewer screenshots it).

Snapchat is different from other social networking sites like Vine, Facebook or Instagram that are feeds, available for all of one’s followers to see. I recently deleted my Facebook profile because I realized I had created an online persona for others to understand as “me” but wasn’t the real me.  Likewise, I was doing the same by perusing through my friends’ profiles, clicking through pictures of people I had met only a few times to “get to know them.” Unlike those other apps, Snapchat is not about showing off how many friends or followers you have.

Ever since downloading the Snapchat app on my iPhone six months ago, I have become addicted, sending on average about 20 “Snaps” a day. I love Snapchat because I don’t have to worry about the audience that might be viewing the pictures or videos I take. I can send all the selfies I want with my teddy bears and I know that the people I choose to send them to will laugh and not think I’m some weird 16-year-old who never grew up. I also know that the images will disappear in a number of seconds. Sometimes that’s sad because I know I won’t be able to look back nostalgically on the images later in life. However, most of the time the transient nature of the images just makes me feel uninhibited to send whatever I want. Although the content of my Snapchats tend to be mundane (normally just variations of ugly selfies), I still feel closer to the people I Snapchat. One Snapchat can turn into a night of back and forth funny, weird images and inside jokes.

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