“What’s your snap?” I am asked this question a minimum five times a week. I’m almost never asked for my phone number or my Instagram handle. I’m asked for my Snapchat, which is an awkward situation every single time it happens because I don’t have Snapchat.
As an 18-year-old freshman in college living in the city of Boston, it seems “weird” or “odd” to people that I am not present on this social media network. My only explanation? I don’t understand the point of sending meaningless pictures back and forth when I can text, FaceTime or better yet have a face-to-face conversation with someone.
Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines social media as “forms of electronic communication.” However, Snapchat seems to lack the element of communication.
When the photos and videos that users send to one another disappear instantly, why even bother? Many of my friends claim that they can’t even remember what they may have sent to someone by the time the person answers, and it’s not a text where you can see what was previously sent.
I know what you’re thinking now. You’re saying, “What about the blue chat?” But how often do you save messages using that feature and how easy is it to “unsave” those as well?
Even though I’m not a Snapchat user, I know everything there is to know about this app from watching my friends use it. I know that it’s fun to have a private story with your closest friends, how exciting it is to talk to new people without the pressure of real conversation and the experience that comes with the Snapchat groups full of embarrassing photos and videos of each other.
However, you should ask yourself: does it mean anything to you when you Snapchat someone? I know of too many people who Snapchat someone every day, yet ignore them when they pass one another on the street.
I know that my opinion may fall on deaf ears, and many have been using Snapchat for almost a decade or more at this point, but this is coming from someone who has all the other major forms of social media as well — Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
Think about the purposes of Instagram and Facebook. These two outlets are a way for you to show the world who you are and make connections with people you work alongside or go to school with. It’s a way to keep in touch with those who live far away, or who you may not see all of the time.
There is a messaging element to both, but it is not as frequently utilized by users. The main elements to these apps are used to share the pictures you want the world to see, and to present your best self. It’s unlike Snapchat, with photos and stories don’t stick around unless they’re screenshotted or saved.
I hope that you take the time to consider how you spend your screen time, and what methods you use to form relationships with people and communicate with them.