The Rise of Snapchat: Friend or Foe?

I was driving around LA with a friend a few weeks ago – just a weekend shopping trip. While at a red light, I looked over at her and she was looking into her phone, making the now infamous “Snapchat face”: the duck-lips that the Olsen twins popularized circa 2005. I looked over and screamed, “I know what you’re doing!” and we both burst out laughing, realizing the obviousness of being caught red handed in the midst of Snapchat.

I actually attended high school with one of the founders of Snapchat; he was a year older and was destined to create a way of glorified sexting. No disrespect! He has become very successful! But in an age where we have major meltdowns when a Word document doesn’t save or a backup goes awry, is Snapchat a friend or foe?

Snapchat, founded by a group of people my age, has basically been tailor-made for my generation. If this technology had been around when I was in high school, many ‘nude photos over AIM’ scandals could have been avoided. The impermanence of a Snap saves many from embarrassment, but because of that, does it also condone and encourage it? I’m not one for the nude Snaps, no way. Contrary to popular belief, Snaps CAN be screenshotted! Even if one is simply sending a selfie to a BFF in which you’re making a goofy face, you still must look cute, so you retake and retake until you achieve the perfect shot or give up. Once the screenshot is taken on the other end, whether the pic be G-rated or not, there is nothing the sender can do. They are notified that they’ve been screenshotted, and that might just be horrifying enough to never Snap again. Is it an indication on who to trust? A friend filterer? In the digital age, there is NO privacy. Once something is posted, intentionally or not, it can never be fully retrieved.

Like tweets, Facebook posts, etc, once a Snap has been put out there, whether it’s in one’s mind or a photograph, it’s been seen. Nobody can force someone to forget. Maybe invest in technology to create one of those little memory erasers for Men In Black? Don’t have the funding? Understandable – neither do I. My solution: keep your information to a minimum online! I know everyone’s mother told him or her that when they got their first email account, but a little mystery never hurt anyone!

An article in The New Yorker makes the point of underlining the benefits of the possible freedom of Snapchat, without the looming worry of being tagged on Facebook. There is an unwritten rule among friends: don’t screenshot and post! I’ve heard rumors there is a way to screenshot without the sender being notified. If this is true, we should all be afraid.

And remember kids, don’t drink and snap!

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