What Even Is Snapchat?

My friend Lucia first introduced me to Snapchat over winter break. She is kind of my go to for any cool apps seeing as she seems to always know about anything before anyone else. (how you do dat, Looch?)  Snapchat is this totally awesome app…

…k where was I? Right, okay. Snapchat is an app that lets you send pics of your face to your friends!!!! Cause I mean, like, WHO ISN’T DYING TO DO THAT? It really is that simple. Just snap a picture of your face or your cat or that crazy boy in your class you’ve been dying to tell your friends about!

Down in the right hand corner you pick how many seconds you want the photo to last on your friend’s screen:

Just tap in the center of the screen and you can add a personal message:

You can use this weird paint thing to draw on top of the picture like so:

Then you just go to your list of friends, pick which one you want to send it to, press send and it’s off!

You pick the amount of seconds because the photo is supposed to be deleted from their screen forever once time runs out. And there was this rumor that you couldn’t take screenshots, but I’ve totally done it. Basically, this app was invented for sexting. I don’t care what the creators say (they’ve vehemently denied these claims) – it clearly was. Why else would anyone want to send time-restricted images that can’t be saved?

Or can they? A team of digital forensic investigators figured out how to extract the images from not only the app, but also your phone’s memory. (K COOL! Good thing I’ve never sent a nude!!!)

That might be a major bummer for all the sexters out there, but I’m not convinced it will stop teens from loving it. Frankly, I don’t think it’s just teens. I’m almost 21 and can’t get enough if it. Yeah, yeah. I am very close to the “teen” demographic, but I used to work in an office with people in their 30s and 40s and once they discovered the app, they would Snapchat each other at work, even when some were sitting right next to one another. (It was kind of weird, but w/e.)

I’m not entirely sure the deletable aspect is what makes it so addicting. Then again, I’m not entirely sure what does. Sure, I could just text my friend a picture of my face, but there is something about doing it through Snapchat that gives me endless LOLs. In this technology obsessed world where I can no longer go to a party without live tweeting my social anxiety, I enjoy the personal(?) face-to-face, even if it’s through a frozen image.

Another huge part is the fad. I can remember when my friends wouldn’t stop playing Angry Birds even if you offered them $100. I see the same thing happening right now with Vine. Why do I need to see six seconds of you walking your dog? I don’t. But I want to. We just like things that are new and popular and kind of weird, especially those apps that allow us to express ourselves or be oddly voyeuristic.

Then, there’s the whole not-so-secret narcissist side of our personalities. Truth: I stalk myself on Facebook even more than I do my ex—and that is saying a lot! Twitter’s an excuse to say, “Look at me!! I’m like super funny/adorable!” Some might argue Instagram is the photo version of that—“I’m super artsy/hipster and thought of a witty caption.” Snapchat is the selfie Instagram that only a few people get to see. So instead of being judged by all your followers for being  “that girl” (I’m that girl), you can shamelessly send all the pictures of yourself that you want, cause the recipient is probably doing the same.

The craze around Snapchat will surely fade. But, I don’t think it’ll have anything to do with the images being uncoverable, especially because I don’t know anyone willing to spend $300-$500 just to extract embarrassing photos of their friends. (Unless any of your friends seriously plan on running for president, in which case it’s prob a sound investment.)

So snap away!! Just remember: Snapchatting is like pooping. We all do it, but most don’t want to watch you do it. Honestly though, watching someone Snapchat is the most bizarre thing. Just ask the stranger sitting next to me who watched as I took all the photos above.

Featured image via Snapchat