Snapping Out of the Obsession

img_2462Snapchat, an integral part of a young person’s life, and the one place you can go to enjoy a detailed look into everyone’s life, known in the pre-social media age as stalking.

Parents may fear that their child is doing things that they shouldn’t, meanwhile the children are beaming with excitement as they add a new “friend” to their snapchat list. Mostly due to the fact that they have another “story” to look at throughout the day. There are several aspects to snapchat that confuse many, yet those same people fall into the vicious trap of giving into the ways of snapchat.

Once you add someone on snapchat, it is likely that the first few words that may come out of a person’s mouth next is “want to start a streak?” For those that don’t know, a streak is when you send a snapchat back and forth for more than three days consecutively, however many people do not even have conversations. Everyone knows that one person that sends a black screen with the caption “streak,” and that ends the conversation for the day.

Then comes the best friends list, this is a list of the seven people you snapchat most, and while it is said that the list is refreshed every week to show the most up-to-date interactions, no one really accepts that that’s how it happens.

“I genuinely don’t understand the mathematical algorithm that snapchat computes to find best friends, because it feels rigged to me.” Isabella, ‘17, thinks, and she is among those that attempt to cheat the system and send many snapchats to an individual (also known as spamming), in order to prevent a certain someone from being on the list, or to create a best friends list they aren’t afraid to share.

And finally comes snapchat stories, the wide phenomenon of sharing little aspects of your daily life, however, from an outsiders perspective this is unnecessary and irresponsible. When something happens, the first thing the majority of snap-chatters do is pull out their phones to snapchat it and post it to their story, where all of the people on their friends list can view it.

Ten years ago, if someone were to fall down, or do something embarrassing, people would either help them, or laugh, whereas nowadays, phones will be in that person’s face and broadcasting everywhere.

“People put on a really fake persona on snapchat, I think it’s really hard for you not to. For those 10 seconds you can be super excited and then go back to your normal self.” Urvasi, ‘17, she further expands by saying that so many try to be funny on their snapchat story, and while some succeed, it’s hiding behind a screen that takes away from who they are in person.

Snapchat stories have truly influenced the FOMO (fear of missing out) that many teenagers have, as well as the incessant need to show off what you are doing, who you are with, and how much fun you’re having (or the lack thereof) at all times.

Yu Ern, ‘17, agrees that she is a part of those who always want to know what people are doing, “I felt almost empty when I didn’t have snapchat for two days because my phone wasn’t working, I felt like a certain emptiness inside of me… I felt like I was missing out on what everyone was doing, I was going to lose my streaks. I came to school and asked a friend to sign into my snapchat on her phone to keep my streaks.”

And while some are in denial about it, the need to prove that you are being social and have a life is at the core of the reason why snapchat is so popular.

As well as that, the curiosity of knowing where everyone is at all times has caused many to be unable to put their phones down for more than a few hours due to the need to catch up with all the stories they are missing out on.

Will we possibly ever snap out of the desperation to always know what is going on? Will we every stop wanting to show off what they’re doing?