I don’t have Snapchat. Crazy, I know. And maybe what’s even more alarming is that I don’t actually like Snapchat. Ok so I work in the media industry, I advise brands how best to use social channels to market themselves effectively and I am constantly checking Twitter for new music and memes. But on a personal level, I can’t get into Snapchat. Here’s why…
Entertain. Inform. Inspire. That is what I look to social media for.
Snapchat can do all three of these things and for brands, bloggers and media personalities, it definitely does. I am not debating whether Snapchat is a brilliant tool to build a name for yourself and to share live updates, because in reality it is the fastest growing social network on the planet right now. Complex, YesJulz and of course DJ Khaled are each great examples of how Snapping all day can take your brand to the next level.
HOWEVER, this fast-food version of vlogging has now encouraged everyone and their mother to try and keep up with a constant stream of Snaps and resulted in us mindlessly posting our personal lives with little thought or care.
ANTI-Snap reason 1: Mindless behaviour
A recent study found that the average person aged 24-35 checks their phones 36 times a day. Only 36 times?! Is it just me or does this figure still sound far too low? With apps like Snapchat, which are all about needing to capture every single moment as it happens, we’re not only checking our phones each minute, we’re pretty much living through our cameras 24/7.
And what for? To disrupt an organic real-life moment so we can upload a short video clip online, which disappears in 24 hours. One day later, that moment is gone and you’re replacing it with another just as quickly. It’s become a habit.
I’ve been out with friends who almost have to pause what we are doing so they can take an obligatory picture or video to update the strangers in their phone and it can be wildly frustrating. Creating temporary stories for yourself or a few online followers you don’t know, instead of being completely present in these moments while they are happening has become regular routine.
Not only are we posting mindlessly out of habit, we’re consuming content mindlessly too. Flicking through snaps like zombies, until something remotely interesting pops up. I’m guilty of spending a solid 25 minutes just scrolling and scrolling until I find something that catches my attention for a second. And that’s 25 minutes I can’t get back.
ANTI-Snap reason 2: Creativity is lost
You don’t have to be a pro photographer to take nice photos anymore. iPhones and Instagram have made it easier for us all to show a little artistic flair in our updates, whether through a filter (or five) and a cool caption. But Snapchat couldn’t care less.
The sense of urgency created by Snapping means that those few extra seconds which would usually go into getting the right picture, or coming up with an informative line or three to accompany the image you’re uploading, are no longer necessary. And while I understand that this is the whole point of Snapchat, the “realness” of it all (rolls eyes)… it can honestly suck.
On Instagram you feel more compelled to put time into uploading the best shot that does your day (or event or outfit or breakfast) justice. Your followers are not inundated with too much content that might make them want to switch off.
Meanwhile over on Snapchat, you can post all 20 photos you took that day (or that hour) in one go and as a result, condition your followers into being unconcerned with the picture quality. In 10 seconds or so another picture will appear that makes your previous one irrelevant, leaving people caught in a recurring cycle of waiting for the next update, instead of actually noticing or appreciating what you have just posted.
Dog-ear selfies, miming to rap songs, struggle plates of food and endless video clips from the club have a field day on Snapchat because your followers only have to see a few seconds of this bland content and then it is gone.
Your basicness can go wild.
ANTI-Snap reason 3: The allusion is lost
Nothing is left to the imagination anymore. Any kind of mystique we once had is gone on Snapchat, as people feel obliged to “check-in” everywhere they go, tell you who they are out with and even show you what they look like with no make-up (or no clothes) on. Because if we don’t “check-in” or post a picture on Snapchat each time we leave the house, does our day even matter? Did it even happen?
I don’t know about you, but I prefer a bit of intrigue.
Remember the days of MTV Cribs when it would feel exciting to see what’s behind the doors of somebody’s home? Giving a glimpse into your personal life can be cool; it’s inviting and makes you appear down to Earth, which is why Snapchat and these kinds of apps work so well for A-listers who we would usually deem unreachable. It’s a hugely effective part of your marketing strategy to become more relatable to your fans.
But there is giving a glimpse of your everyday life and then sharing your ENTIRE day with everyone online until all of that mystery you once had is dead and buried. You’re suddenly too accessible (and probably too annoying.)
All in all, Snapchat panders to today’s society with the fleeting-attention span. It’s an ADD sufferer’s dream. Similar to how online articles are getting shorter (I bet 70% of the people reading this gave up after seeing it was longer than 100 words) and how fitness classes are turning into 20-minute HIIT sessions, Snapchat has seamlessly slotted into the frantic world we live in. It enables us to have an ultra-fast way to keep up with one another and provides a behind the scenes look into how everyone is coping.
For now though, I’d rather not know…
BUT THEN CAME: Instagram Stories *sigh*
Just when I thought I’d avoided the Snap addicts, Instagram Stories appears and slowly draws me in. But you have to hand it to IG, bringing the real-time element of Snapchat to a platform people are already in love with is a smart move. I’m still figuring out if I like this update. But that’s a #story for another time.
What are your thoughts on Snapchat? Is it invading our privacy too much or is it a harmless way to connect with each other more? Tweet me @natashananner or leave a comment.