Snapchat and the Abomination of the Selfie
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?