Snapchat and the Abomination of the Selfie

Snapchat logo with sunglasses

I haven’t used Snapchat for over eighteen months.

I am surprised it is still popular, though I have no idea how popular compared to before. I know that parents have jumped on the bandwagon so that they can contact their children and nieces and nephews and see what they are up to.

In my time without Snapchat I have noticed my phone has significantly less stupid photos of random objects, less random 10-second videos of my brother trying to get gum off his shoe by viciously rubbing his foot on the ground, and most of all, less deliberately-posed selfies with skin-ghosting filters applied.

Yeah, I get it. It is actually a marvellous way for bands, actors and actresses, and YouTube stars to share what they are up to with their fans, without having to give away any personal information. It’s allowed us to get a literal peek into people’s lives and be amused for all of a few seconds. Life is fleeting, and Snapchat allows us to capture those fleeting moments. But it takes us back to an old-time argument about photos and video – if we are recording moments of our lives, are we really living them?

I was insanely obsessed with Snapchat when I used it. I would look for people to add and I would spend time making a story every day and showing people the shit I got up to. I would chat to people on it. I would take a lot of selfies. A lot. I liked chatting to my friends through it, in a quick way that was almost universal. I don’t have Facebook, so I can’t contact anyone through Facebook. Not everyone has the same type of phone, and texting holds some kind of strange barrage as to why you don’t reply.

With Snapchat, it’s so casual that it is practically optional to reply.

I could chat to people and send pictures to people I didn’t have a close relationship with.

We could have random conversations, I could comment about their cat without starting a conversation, they could comment on my hair without continuing the conversation.

Someone viewed a snap you sent them, and didn’t reply, but you didn’t exactly get butthurt about it.

I racked up about 50,000 points, I think. I can’t remember. I also don’t know if that is still a thing.

So why did I delete my account?

I had enough.

I had enough of valuing my best friends by how they ranked on Snapchat. I didn’t want to be that person capturing bite-sized pieces of concerts that no one cared about unless they knew the band playing. I didn’t want “I want to put this on Snapchat” to be in my vocabulary anymore. If I wanted to take a photo, fine. But there was something about putting something on Snapchat that made it seem like all you wanted to do was to take a photo of something you probably didn’t care about seeing in real life. Life is fleeting, I know.

I had started to value things as being Snapchat-worthy, as the app filled up the bored holes in my life. I had started to care more about sharing and boasting about the great things in my life instead of really enjoying them. And I got awfully obsessed with taking photos of my face.

If I scroll through my phone photos now and try to find the last selfie I took, it’s a long way back. Excluding photos I took in the mirror to share an outfit, or selfies I took on holidays, it’s a long way back before I find a vanity-filled, head-cocking Georgie with eyes deliberately open wide and vintage filter applied.

So I wonder, am I the only one who took more selfies because of Snapchat and less when I parted with it?

Am I the only one who decided that there were better ways to communicate with people?

Does Snapchat add value to your life, or do you also find that it distracts you from your life?

Comments on this post

Snapchat definitely adds to my life. Since all (but one) of my closest friends live far away, it’s an easy way to see what they’re up to, see them smiling and having fun, and also an easy way to let them know I’m okay/not okay. It was also a way for my boyfriend and I to let each other know what we were doing or something funny that was happening, since he isn’t the most chatty person.

Most of the time I use Snapchat when I’m bored, or for the aforementioned, or when something unusual or amusing is happening. I don’t care about points or posting all the time. Even when I do post, it’s usually targeted to a few people who I know would get a kick out of what I’m sending them. (Photos and videos of my rabbit to my little brother, for instance, who lives far away.)

But I definitely understand how obsessive something can be. This is the exact same way I behaved with Tumblr. I can’t use Tumblr because it starts to control my life and distract me from what’s actually happening.

In the amount of time I’ve had a Snapchat account, the amount of my selfies has remained the same. This is probably due to the fact that I mainly created an account to follow people, and that I don’t photograph well. I’ve also managed not to become addicted to it, since I can hardly get it to open on my phone. :P

But I definitely agree that their are better ways to communicate with people…in person, via a letter, etc.

So it sounds like around the time you stopped using it I started using it, haha. I was such a later adopter, mainly because I saw no point to it when everything you did you could do with texting. I think I joined just so I could what it’s all about. Sometimes it’s great when you want to share something stupid that you don’t want lingering on forever. But like Coryl mentioned, I use it when I’m bored. That’s about it. I maybe post something once or twice a week. I’m indifferent about it.

I’ve never used Snapchat, but I’ve recently got into Instagram. I do have Facebook but I’m not active on it as much as others. I have Twitter, where I’m a little more active, but I have followers that I don’t know well, out of those followers I do have a few good friends, plus I also run an official fan page on Twitter for a celebrity. So there is that. Does what I do on social networks add value to my life? I would say perhaps in the Twitter world. Does it distract me? Not so much like before. I try to make time for other things, like blogging, working on a crochet or nail art project, spending time with family and enjoying the simple things. :) There are better ways to communicate with others. This is one of them. :D Lastly, I’m not much of a selfie person.

I think I used to get distracted by Twitter, now I am more easily distracted by private text messages between me and my friends. I think a lot of social media can be very distracting when you start using it, then you learn to filter it out.

Never had snapchat, ever. Never had Facebook either. I don’t even have instagram. I’ve only had twitter for about 8 years, and I’ve had only limited interactions on there too. I’m not sure why this is though. I mean I want to say it’s because I’ve never had a thing for social media but it might also be because I’ve never had enough “friends” to build on these social sites with – I’m not a social butterfly so to say. Maybe I also never gave it a chance and stuck to my comfort zone which is twitter and also being from a family that discourages social interactions, I was never allowed (still am not allowed) to actively participate in social media.
So if I have to go through lengths of risking myself by “breaking” those rules to get into any form of social media, I prefer to do it for those people I find engaging but cannot interact with on a daily basis irl.
It tends to sometimes stir things up more than you may have wanted (especially when the community you live in is a very conservative one) because then everything you decide to put up or not put up is indirectly censored. It isn’t really you.
I’m probably not making much sense lol but that was my attempt at sharing my experience with social media in general (or the lack of it).
I’m not against any form of social media though! I’m very certain there are perks to all – as well as snapchat (in relation to your blog post).
A lot of the times I find obsessions will develop when people have a lot of interactions with every post. When that lacks it’s difficult to find it as immersing.

I only use Instagram to share nice photos. I used to share any kind of photos on there, but I feel like it is more of a curated collection now. I think I have been on Twitter for around the same time that you have (late 2008). Like Instagram, I used to use it quite obsessively but now I am more practical about it. I remember trying a lot of social media websites but I never really got much out of the social aspect. It felt like I was just trying to get attention. I’ve not once tried Facebook because in the early years, when I received invites (circa 2006), it seemed to be along the lines of connecting with friends from school. It didn’t make sense for me to join a website just to connect with friends, especially when we chatted on old-school things like AIM and MSN Messenger. That made things easy, so the invites never made sense to me.

I’ve had friends who use Snapchat, and I’ve seen one even putting me in his snaps, but I never bothered because it seems . . . pointless?! Then again, I am not really into taking photos of myself, so it really didn’t appeal to me. I don’t know. Give me text and words. I deal with those better. That’s why I blog. That’s why I tweet. I use Instagram, but that phase comes and goes for me. I just communicate better with words. Pictures and other forms — not so much. I agree with you that there are better ways of communicating with others. Snapchat may be great for some people, but for me? Nope.

Also another reason why I never bothered with Snapchat? Battery drainage and fear of addiction. I really don’t need another thing to distract me and to just drain my phone battery. I need my phone for other things, and Snapchat is not one of them.

I think most people I interacted with on Snapchat eventually got bored of taking photos of anything, and usually took a photo of the floor and slapped text on it in order to communicate. I’m not sure how much of a battery suck Snapchat was, but to be honest, it’s usually the least of my concerns when using new apps, because I only tend to download apps if I will be using them. I clean my apps from time to time and remove anything I haven’t touched in a while.

I joined Kik for an ex, as well as some friends, but by the time I finally had a phone that allowed me to have apps, people were on to Snapchat. I guess that is kind of my problem with it: it’s one of those easily replaceable apps. I was big on selfies when I was in high school, but then I developed insecurities, which resulted in me not really taking any selfies. I didn’t get an Instagram account until three years ago, but it also seems more stable than Snapchat or Whatsapp, or whatever it’s called now. I guess, in some ways, I view it like I do Periscope: everyone was so on about it, and now it’s just…a thing that happened, and no one is quite on about it anymore.

I take so few selfies and only recently got into it…but I also love capturing the beauty of life and the little [candid] moments. I don’t really like posed moments, and I don’t totally understand the hype of always photographing everything. I considered Snapchat for my new phone, but at the end of the day, it’d just be another account I’d rarely keep up with, much like my Etsy or Tumblr accounts.

And now that Instagram has stories, I feel like I can just post simple, random snippets of my life that don’t go up on my feed forever and are just there, in the event anyone is interested. It’s nifty, methinks.

What are Snapchat points for?

I find that most social media I have joined has been just another account. I deleted Tumblr, and I deleted a lot of other social media accounts of websites that never really took off. I’ve been on Twitter for a long time, though. As for Instagram, I like it, but I only flip through my feed or post a photo when I really feel like it. I suppose Twitter is the same – I don’t see up to date with my feed like I used to.

Instagram Stories was seen as a copy of Snapchat. Some people treat them as one and the same, and people like you chose to use it, while others who were already avid Snapchat users just continued to use Snapchat. I know that some people preferred Instagram because it was connected to people you followed and you could follow anyone without trying to search for a username.

I don’t know what the points were actually for. It probably showed you as a more active user, but it was really only a count of how many snaps you had received or sent, I think.

I briefly downloaded Snapchat but never really played with it. It seemed boring to me and I couldn’t understand it. I’m sorry that Snapchat has hurt you in those ways, and you’re right to get rid of those things that hamper your quality of life.

I laughed good at the part where you said before snapchat existed, your phone had less stupid random posts because I agree to that, so so much. I myself am not a snapchat user and I feel like snapchat is just another useless trend where people overuse that flower crown or dog face filter as their selfie. It’s totally fine if other people like it, I don’t care, but for me personally, it’s a waste of phone storage and useless too. I don’t do selfie (my instagram has none of my face popping up) and I don’t record anything so what’s the use of snapchat if I were to really create an account there? My friends said because snapchat is fun and it’s ok if my account is empty, they just want to tag and send me funny crap. Well, that’s another reason why I shouldn’t even take the time to bother with snapchat. Again, I don’t judge people who play around with snapchat – i don’t mind, you don’t matter and vice versa kind of thing, you know…

I spent YEARSSSS without a facebook account. My close friend from high school who also shares the same vision with me regarding ridiculous social media trends created an account on fb just for the sake of academy / profession purposes and i thought hm ok then why not, seeing as fb is full of dump and cute animal videos pooping everywhere. I only added like 13 people on fb though and most of them are my close close friends, including my boyfriend. The other 2 is just a “hm ok we’re on good terms and i’m ok with them” kind of mutuals. But i don’t allow other people to know i have fb, that includes relatives etc. I even ignored and deleted friend requests from most. I feel like people these days feel the need to add you just because you are on the platform as a mean to add more friend on the list, like a stupid filter of some sort. I hate that. Which is why i keep my social media accounts kinda private and only to really really close friends. I’ve had some people who I know only by name and face trying to add me on fb and i rejected them because why should I accept them if they never even talked to me in the first place? Heck, i bet they don’t even know who i am and only want to add because i am a mutual of someone they know! Ew, creep.

I probably sound like a party pooper but the social media accounts that i find decent to exist in my life are twitter, tumblr, instagram and fb. I don’t even use my Path diligently because i hate checking in and telling people where i am right now – i’m not that vain. Again, you do you. I don’t care about people who want to take thousands of selfies on snapchat or post about their whereabout every 5 mins but for MY taste, i don’t like that….i judge that as an attitude that is too conceited attitude for myself.

On a side note, i treat fb like tumblr though. Keeping my friends short on fb has given me a better feeling as opposed to adding everyone regardless i have talked to them or not. I find that as trying too hard and i don’t want to be that person. I scroll down fb like i scroll down tumblr and the share button on fb is basically just another reblog. That’s how i see it. Tumblr is still the best platform for me to be as sarcastic as i wanna be though because most people will just scroll past my rants and whatnot. On fb and public twitter, however, i find that i should filter my words and i can’t be as carefree because people get butthurt over everything. They think they know everything based on a 140 words crap. Seriously.

Anyway, sorry for ranting. In the end, I find snapchat unnecessary and ridiculous in my life. Taking random photo of a trash bin and putting on the caption “omg a trashcan!” is just too ridiculous and stupid for my liking. Besides, I only have 16 gb of internal storage in my phone and i’d rather have LINE eat up my space rather than random selfies with the same filter again and again.

Lmao i meant *dumb and not dump. Goddamn it autocorrect

I feel like people these days feel the need to add you just because you are on the platform as a mean to add more friend on the list, like a stupid filter of some sort. I hate that.

I relate to this so much! I don’t use Facebook, but I feel that every time I bump into someone, like an old high school friend, or just someone new I meet at a social event, I get asked, “Do you have Facebook? I’ll add you.” I know that even if I did have it, I would be extremely reluctant to add someone who is not really my close friend, or someone I just met and don’t know very well. It also seems to be the case that since I don’t have Facebook, people don’t want to be friends with me because it’s like a dumb credential to be someone’s friend. I have to be stackable to that person and they have to get insights into my life. I’ve always stayed true to my blog because it’s basically like my Facebook, I would post exactly the same thing on Facebook that I post on my blog. But I’m not even going to bother.

My fiancé has had some people who read my blog try to add him on Facebook. I’m thinking, what the hell? You don’t know him, you only know that I have mentioned him on my blog, and you’ve gone out of your way to find him on Facebook and add him? It’s kind of creepy. It’s like if I went and added your boyfriend on Facebook!

I also think that a lot of social media websites are the same. Sharing, reblogging, retweeting… same shit. I don’t think you are a party pooper. :D

It’s really interesting to read your experience and thoughts about using and ditching the app. I think sometimes we can become too involved with certain applications that they can somehow gain a higher importance in our lives, that may not be a logical one, but certainly smart marketing to make people want and have to use it.

I am pretty sure I downloaded the app, but never really used it at all. I am not a fan of taking photos of myself, so that could be why haha.

I have to admit, I take lots of selfies in general but ever since I got a Snapchat, I found I took EVEN MORE (if at all possible!) Especially since they added those filters, I’ve been checking filters every day to see if there’s something new I missed.

I totally understand why you quit though, reading through this post, I realised how many times I’ve said out loud or thought, “Hey, this would be great to put on my Snapchat story!” Sometimes I do get annoyed with myself for thinking this way and sometimes look back at my stories like, “omg, why did I post that? Nobody really cares/wants to know!” I had a short break from Snapchat for 2 months this year and got back into it this year especially before my holiday to Spain, I remember trying to Snap every thing I saw and at the end of the day, I’d put all the snaps together and watch it in a little video. I liked that it captured everything I did that day (everything I wanted to), I also use it now for promotional/marketing/communications at my placement especially since they have special GEO tags specifically for my University – it’s a really good tool to generate interest in the university especially with new students!

I’m not sure if it adds value, but I know that it’s a fun little app that I use professionally and personally to keep in contact with friends. Although, i understand your stance on it! I found this post really interesting Georgie (as always, you make me think a lot haha!)

Have a great weekend!

I actually don’t use Snapchat either, haha. I did download it a couple times but never used it for myself and found myself bored after watching others snaps. I think this was really interesting though! Like how depending on the person, app usage tends to be different. In your case – more selfies! I always feel self conscious and can’t take any selfies without cringing.

But I totally agree with you that there are other ways to communicate with other people. I feel like Snapchat has a certain impersonal feel to it because you can send the same message to multiple people.

Honestly, I never used snap chat. I always hear about it, but never bothered.

As for selfies and such, never really bothered much there either. Sure, I’ve taken some here and there, but usually for taking a picture for a site or something.

I have had a love hate relationship with Snapchat, deleting and recreating my account a few times. I felt I was wasting too much time on it. Nowadays though I don’t view it as something I need to check often, its just there. Though the face swap filters and other new features are pretty fun to do with friends, so I think thats a positive. But yeah, in the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t add much value to life, its just a way people feel they connect. But then again, in the grand scheme of things, nothing matters. My friend and I have a running joke; whenever we have a problem, we just say ‘look man, consider the stars’ (as just trying to imagine the unfathomable amount of stars an unfathomable distance away makes anything seem insignificant). OK a bit off topic.

What is a bit worrying though is these days younger ppls, like 15 year olds, are obsessed with streaks. Like getting 100 days of snaps in a row (you get a little flame next to their name with the number keeping the tally). To me it seems a bit silly, since the snaps they send to maintain these streaks are literally black screens with the caption “lol streak”. But, from another perspective, it is pretty funny. So have fun snapchatterrrrsss.

I have never even used Snapchat. I did download it once, but it wasn’t a great success though… I consider myself fairly tech-savvy, but I couldn’t for the life of me figure out the UI and had to google how to even navigate the app. I also never understood what I was supposed to do with the snaps. Like, are you supposed to reply or like? And if so; how?! I had the app for maybe 3 days before giving up and deleting it.
Not that it matter much, almost nobody I know even uses it. And I already have the people I care about on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, so it’s not like we can’t stalk each other in other ways :P

Hahaha I had a good laugh reading your comment. I have never heard anyone say they had similar troubles with the app, but I am so sure that other people who don’t read my blog have had the same issue. I remember it not being very intuitive. One of those ‘figure it out yourself’ apps. I think they had visual guides at one point when you first launched the app after an update, but most of the features were hidden behind swipe gestures or taps.

The main reason I never got Facebook is because all my friends can contact me some other way! :)

After a while, I noticed that you disappeared from Snapchat XD. I agree with you, Snapchat is a great way to have a quick chat or snap. Buuuut it can get out of control when you take a snap of everything you do during the day (aka. be on your phone all the time and not actually notice what you’re doing).

Snapchat is a good way to kill time and use geofilters to show where you’re at. Basically a distraction. . There are definitely better ways to communicate with people. I suppose the most meaningful way for me is through text messaging.

With Instagram’s new story feature, I thought it would kill Snapchat but didn’t see any changes so far.

My next Q: How do I get away from Twitter??? XD.