For the longest time, Snapchat was one of the most difficult apps for me to understand (it still is). I could never distinguish between ‘snaps’ and ‘snap stories’. The concept of being able to post or send a picture, only for it to last a mere ten seconds, was strange yet fascinating to me. While I have yet to fully appreciate Snapchat’s ingenuity, I am at least able to comprehend its basic uses.
I first heard of Snapchat back in high school, when it had only been released for a few years. I remember thinking about how smart the app was – everyone could send pictures without worrying about them being redistributed and posted on social media. I quickly learned, however, that screenshots could be used to save pictures. My excitement immediately evaporated. I deleted the app from my phone and thought to myself, “I don’t send pictures to friends anyways, so why bother using it?”
By not having Snapchat, I found myself on the fringes of the latest gossip. ‘Snaps’ (single pictures) and ‘snap stories’ (a series of ‘snaps’) provided intimate details into the lives of my friends, from the people they were hanging out with to the types of food that they were eating. Snapchat also became the go-to platform to advertise or tease one’s relationship status. By not using the app, I was always out of the loop – but was that genuinely a bad thing?
Snapchat has also become more popular among the general public. As a famous actor or music artist, one could use the app to appear more relatable to fans. News networks such as CNN have also started providing a ‘slideshow’ of recent headlines via an interactive Snapchat feature called Discover.
In terms of the political world, politicians can post ‘snap stories’ to illustrate a day on the campaign trail or in the office. This practice has especially grown popular with candidates running in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The app offers a different perspective that the public rarely gets to see.
The one question that keeps plaguing my mind is this: are we better off with or without Snapchat? In my opinion, it’s too early to tell. The app has shown so much potential thus far; what more is it capable of?