In 2012 teens & tweens everywhere rejoiced, Snapchat arrived on the scene and added an element of mystery to communicating. Spreading like wildfire through a young demographic, suddenly every sally, sue and mary could send risque photos with “apparently” no risk. The crux of Snapchat’s operation relies upon the fleeting nature of it’s photos. A picture message could last anywhere from 1 to 10 seconds, allowing adventurous teens a false sense of security in sending “taboo” photos. Once the concerned parents got a whiff of this app, it was quickly condemned and labeled as a method to distribute child pornography. Snapchat was the catalyst in the “selfie” hate-fire that spread across the older generations. (Hate-fire is of course a highly technical term referring to a level of hate so passionate that it burns like a fire within a person.)
Snapchat was the catalyst in the “selfie” hate-fire that spread across the older generations.
For the informed android user it was possible to screenshot snapchats you received, thus rendering the “finite” aspect of the app null. It took ages for Apple to implement a screenshot feature, and longer still before Snapchat updated the app and made it notify users when someone had screenshotted a snap. I resisted Snapchat for over a year until I finally broke down and got the app. I’ll admit it, I installed the app to facilitate conversations with a romantic female interest. My romantic fling quickly ended and I was left with Snapchat and no reasons to take temporary pictures. I tolerated the app for a few months before rage-uninstalling it. During the first few years of it’s use everyone was so infatuated with the ability to take photos.
My phone received a constant stream of photos, poorly lit food and fancy drinks from Starbucks.
Perhaps it was that age range, 17-19 where you think everyone cares about your low-fat-extra-skinny-caramel-pumpkin-spice latte. It was like everyone was orbiting their own tiny world and the novelty of your $6 beverage needed to be shared with everyone you knew.
For me Snapchat was a data-gobbler, a phone battery destroyer, an annoying distraction that seemed only to facilitate people bragging about their lives. For the most part people avoided posting their f****** lattes on facebook every day, Snapchat however, was not so lucky. For another year I said goodbye to Snapchat, and preached of my superior unlimited picture messaging plan. I reasoned that
any photo I take should be able to exist for longer than 10 seconds.
I would pretentiously inform my friends that I didn’t need, or want to take photos that disappeared, I belonged to a much more civilized sect of society…. or so I thought.
Somehow Snapchat found it’s way back onto my phone, and hasn’t left since. It has consistently been plagued with battery problems, poor optimization on Android, and terrible photo resolution, but that hasn’t stopped Snapchat from changing the entire messaging game.
I think it took everyone about 3 years to get tired of sending pictures of food and lattes.
Only the most die-hard committed alkaline peoples still post that content. Now-a-days Snapchat is an essential tool in my communications toolbox, it facilitates and enhances conversations. Sometimes you don’t feel like responding to that last one word text from your “bae”, and other times you want to share something in your life with your close friends/family. It enables me to continue inside jokes endlessly, as all it takes is one sign, person, place or thing to trigger a memory of a joke you made with a buddy, and before you know it your phone has already been whipped out of your pocket.
Within no time I developed a mantra for what I called “Successful Snapchatting.” To my friends who would listen I passionately elaborated on what I believed to be the finer psychological nuances of Snapchat. I believe Snapchat, “My Story” is primarily used to facilitate Humble Bragging.
The key feature of “My Story” is that it is passively updated, meaning that users have to actively choose to view your “Story” rather than be forced to see it, ala’ endless scrolling news feed. *COUGH* Facebook *COUGH*
This is the really critical part, when users are “forced” to see your content, there is a bit of resentment/apathy built into the equation. Yes, you signed up for Facebook and added all these friends, but no you didn’t sign up for dudes posting shirtless photos and memes with a resolution of a toaster. So when you actively click on someone’s story; subconsciously you are more invested, and you don’t blame the person for posting it. They didn’t send it to you, they just put it out there for someone to see, and you signed up for that.
Let’s put it simply, how do you create quality Snapchat “My Stories?”
“It’s all about bragging. Your photos & videos need to show everyone why your life is better than everyone else’s. Show people how much more fun you have, attractive people you hang out with, expensive things you buy and how much you lift.”
Cut the bullshit, be transparent. No one cares about your dog face filter photo, Snapchat is a validation device and we eagerly check our Stories to see how many views it has. A successful Snapchat is one that somehow shows you in a beneficial light to your circle of friends, family and acquaintances. Snapchat is a more intimate & real time Facebook, allowing your network of people to stay updated on happenings in your life. Post photos of your cat curled up on your lap every day? People will quickly ascertain that you sit at home with your cat all day. Constantly post photos of beautiful sweeping vistas and mountains? People will assume you’re an adventure/hiking junkie. You can very easily manipulate the image people have of you through your Snapchat content. Want everyone to think you’re a cool and exciting person? Only post snaps of you with a big group of people doing fun activities.
Snapchat is a social network image modification facilitator, because the snaps are low quality & “temporary” they don’t reek of intentionality, and people for the most part assume they are genuine. It’s 2016, and it’s about time we start taking social media more seriously. Snapchat is a tool, an app, a sexting facilitator, and a bragging box. What does your selfie say about your personality, income, and desirability? I use Snapchat to brag about my life, share things I find funny or just let me general group of friends know that I still workout.
What do your Snapchats say about you?