I’m not sliding to view any longer.
Week 7: GABRIELLE McGUINNESS: Out of touch
I use Facebook as it’s hard to survive in the modern world and, sadly, maintain friendships without it. I’ve grown fond of Instagram; I see it as a pretty scrapbook in which filters make my life look rose-tinted. Call me grandma, but I think this Snapchat obsession needs to end sharpish.
At first, I thought it was just an excuse for people to send dick pics that would disappear from the internet, so as to avoid intimate photos of themselves winding up on a dodgy porn site or, worse, in their parents inbox. Granted, whilst revising for my AS exams, Snapchat was a perfect way to avoid revision by documenting my boredom.
But that was two years ago. Then, one glorious day I realised that we needed to break up, for good. And it wasn’t me, it was the app. I thought life would be hard without that little white, black-eyed ghost to keep me company, but I soon realised that I had been liberated. I was free from the shackles of conformity and with much more phone battery to waste more productively streaming girl power anthem playlists on Spotify.
Since then, I’ve seen the light. Snapchat is a monster. Not only should everyone delete it because it wastes your pitiful smart phone battery, but because it’s a waste of your time. It takes a lifetime for the wifi to connect in order to load the horde of snapchat stories, only then to endure the 24 seconds of torture of watching a selection of captioned photos or videos from the dull life of someone you’d hardly call a friend. Yet, it’s become instinctive to ‘slide to view’ obsessively, even though you really don’t care.
Maybe my bitter resentment to what is essentially just an app derives from those harrowing memories of being wildly overjoyed at being sent a personal snapchat from a close friend, only to then realise they added it to their story and told the entire world. (You know who you are, and I will never forget).
This is far from reality. It is actually everyone else who cannot acknowledge that their lives aren’t interesting and, even if they are, I cannot understand how exhibiting it to your entire phone book achieves anything.
Feel free to tell your friends and family about your life and take pictures to look at for later, but where’s the benefit of a photo that deletes after 3 seconds, that no one pays attention to anyway?
The whole concept promotes insincerity. The person in your snapchat stories is almost certainly not you, it is the exaggerated persona you have fashioned that exists on social media. Snapchat, however, goes one step beyond as it facilitates an obsession with being akin to a celebrity. We feel a need to gain gratification from the masses for our every actions, so as to appear the ideal version of ourself that we dream of being.
Equally, it taps into our inherent nosiness. So many people I know would delete the app, but cannot coerce themselves into doing so because it’s enjoyable to mock someone else’s irrelevant or embarrassing pictures or to make sure you aren’t missing out on any fun social activities.
It is these people who often say that Snapchat is a fabulous resource they use because of the flash on the selfie cam, or to keep in contact with friends. I largely object to the latter notion. I understand that it is difficult to see friends from university during the holidays when we are all spread around the globe, but sending a photo to dozens of contacts could scarcely be considered as putting in the effort to maintain a close friendship. A caption photo with a comment will never trump a good conversation and a cuddle.
Ultimately, social media has altered the way we communicate indefinitely. Where other methods of contact are innovative and useful, Snapchat is transforming us into a nation of self-obsessed and antisocial robots.
If you can’t bring yourself to delete the app, then at least try to cut down your usage and console yourself in the intermediary time with thug lyf compilations, laughing at daily mail online comments, or maybe by trying to enjoy the real world without pausing to photograph it. Ask yourself, does you secondary school acquaintance really need to see what you ate for dinner, what awful remix of a chart hit you heard in Lola Los, or just your face in general? Probably not.
Remember, you’ll be wishing that you took my advice when the Russian government hacks into the website and posts all your ugly, hungover selfies on their most wanted list.