Snapchat is definitely one of the mostly used applications around the world. Snapchat was released in September 2011 by Bobby Murphy, Evan Spiegel and Reggie Brown. Since then, it has become a big part of teenagers’ (and not only) lives. Having millions of users across the globe, it is considered to be a ‘must’ for almost every smartphone owner. Personally, I have been using Snapchat for almost a year now and I would like to share this experience with you.
I started using Snapchat during last year’s summer, when my best friend convinced me to create an account. At the beginning I was a bit hesitant, as I couldn’t really understand the purpose of this application or why everyone was so excited about it. Whenever I asked people why they used Snapchat, I would get answers like ‘It’s so much cooler than any other application’ or ‘it’s so easy and fast to use’. My response would then be: ‘But what kind of stuff would someone upload or post here?’. What they were actually trying to tell me though was that the pictures you take using this app (Snaps as they call them) are not actual posts like in almost every other social media application. They are a means of communicating with others, kind of replacing text or any other verbal messages. So instead of sending a ‘flat’ message to someone, users can actually send pictures with added text, making their message much more interesting and fun!
Another feature that I particularly like are the so-called ‘Stories’. Each user can add various photos or videos (that have to be taken by the phone’s camera within the application) to their story, which is like a small montage/sequence of their images or videos that their friends can view instantly. I find this very useful in the case where I find myself wanting to share something with others, but on the same time not posting it on Facebook or Instagram. I also prefer to only have my closest friends added on Snapchat, as the things I like sharing are most of the times kind of personal (or maybe they’re just things that I would not want all of my Facebook friends to see). Of course the people you have on your Snapchat friends list, can take screenshots of your images/videos but Snapchat notifies you immediately whenever this happens.
On the other hand, I do have a few concerns about this application. First of all, many people get somehow ‘addicted’ to it, as the urge to share their activities with their friends often puts them in a position of taking pictures of every single thing they do. Also, many teenagers using the application, send each other photos of themselves that if not taken responsibly may result in exchanges of explicit or inappropriate material. Once you send someone a picture or a video, they can only view it for a few seconds after they have opened it. It then gets automatically deleted (it disappears). But the real question is, do these pictures/videos actually get deleted? Or are they being stored in any kind of server by the application itself?
Being a Snapchat user has both its pros and its cons. So really, it’s up to each individual to decide whether this application is something they want to incorporate in their daily lives or not. What do you think? To snap or not to snap?
By Stefanos Koullapis – Mediazone Lab Assistant