Imagine peacefully walking down the sidewalk, when suddenly a group of teenage girls accidentally bumps into you and apologizes for not paying attention. Why weren’t they paying attention? Because they’re staring down at their little screens, busy finding the perfect lighting or finding just the right emoji to caption their picture. This happens to me on a daily basis, all because of one app: Snapchat.
Snapchat is an app for both iOS and Android devices that lets you take a picture or video and caption it. Then the recipient has up to ten seconds to view the picture or video before it self-destructs. This sounds like a useless app, yet there are more than one million and counting active daily snapchatters. According to Snapchat, more than 60 percent of smartphone users between the age of 13 to 34 use Snapchat.
For many of my friends, Snapchat has become a habit. When they open their phone, they immediately feel obligated to open and respond to all of their Snapchats, as if it is a chore. Infamous Snap-addict senior Ryan Knotts says that at his peak, he used to send and receive approximately 10,000 Snaps per week. That’s over 1,400 per day. His current Snapscore is 353,400 Snaps sent and received. The Snapchatting problem got so out of hand that Pinewood banned the app on all iPads. Why is it so addicting, you ask? Here are a few reasons why I have grown to have a strong distaste for the app. When I first downloaded Snapchat, it was just another way to talk to my friends. I still use it occasionally to caption funny pictures or capture a pretty landscape.
However, from my experience, Snapchat has turned into an app where you take a meaningless picture of your face, and send it for a few seconds to a friend you’ll probably see the next day. It doesn’t help that you can see the exact minute when someone has opened your Snapchat, so many people get offended when they don’t get an immediate response. When did it become an insult to not respond within thirty seconds?
This year, Snapchat introduced a new feature dubbed in the “Discover” section as the “emoji update that will change your life.” Now, instead of just seeing a list of the people you snap the most, you can see different emoticons to represent different “relationships” you have with each person. They also added the concept of “Snapstreaks,” where Snapchat shows you the number of days that you have consecutively Snapchatted back and forth with a friend. These updates drove the Snapchat addiction to the next level. Now, people are obsessed with maintaining their streak, as if it somehow proved a close friendship. I even know a couple that got into a pretty big fight over not having a gold heart.
It is as if your “Snapchat relationship” reflects your real relationship with a person, which it doesn’t. I also never understood why people get offended when they’re not my “best friend” on the app.
Another feature on Snapchat that really grinds my gears is the “story.” Snapchatters can post a video or picture to their “story,” and their friends can view it for 24 hours before it disappears. When it was first released, I thought it was a cool way to connect with people in real-time, but now it has just become a way for people to brag about whatever they are doing.
I will never understand why people choose to post 200 seconds of meaningless videos, just to prove that they’re having more fun than you. I get that you’re at a party. I don’t need live updates of you screaming every 10 seconds. And don’t even get me started on Snapchatting while driving. People are so addicted to the app, they can’t stop for 10 minutes to drive home from school. I can’t even begin to explain how dangerous and stupid this is. Just imagine texting and driving, while also making sure you look good for the camera. It’s a recipe for disaster.
Overall, the main thing that bugs me about Snapchat is how self absorbed and narcissistic it causes people to be.
When I’m out in public, I can’t help but notice how many people are on their phones instead of actually communicating with the person sitting across from them. I don’t dislike people that use Snapchat, just how it makes them act.