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Snapchat Turned Me into a Hypocrite

Photo credit to Randy Rataj
Many snapchatters use the Snapchat app to send racy pictures that will erase after a few seconds.

I was recently Snapchatted a selfie of a girl with a look of disgust on her face. The accompanying text read, “You’re the weirdest snapper I’ve met.” I’m still not sure whether that’s a good thing.

For those who don’t know, Snapchat is a mobile app that allows the user to send pictures and videos, or “snaps,” back and forth between friends. The catch is the snap will disappear “forever” within 10 seconds of being opened, so the receiver of the snap has a limited view of the message, unless they screenshot it, at which point the sender will be notified. Because of these constraints, the app has been utilized for more provocative content, such as nudes, fecal matter and anything else that gets the heart rate going.

What’s interesting about Snapchat is each user has a very personalized experience with the app. During my Snapchat career I’ve received well over 20 penis/testicle pictures, zero nudes from single females, a couple of random nudes sent by friends who were getting intimate with a girl (yes, people do this) and, yes, countless selfies and an immeasurable number of terrible videos. Here’s the thing: I’m vehemently against selfies, but would love for attractive single girls to send me naked pictures of themselves.

I can’t testify to everyone’s Snapchat experience. All I can do is present my own experience with the app, along with the experiences of many other people I’ve informally talked to. So if you feel offended as a Snapchat user because you would never send or receive nudes or other provocative content, get over it and stop being so pious. It’s important to establish the true impact of such a popular application, even if you haven’t had a similar experience.

The aforementioned girl labeled me a weird Snapchatter because I was unaware of Snapchat etiquette — or rather, because I don’t think any Snapchat etiquette exists. I think each person has his or her own code from other social media outlets that carry over into the Snapchat world. This girl would send me selfies, and I, refusing to send a selfie back, would take bizarre pictures of my surroundings accompanied by text or some weird drawing.

Snapchat Infographic
Infographic by Zach Evans
Snapchat is a growing phenomenon in social media culture today.

Compared to the rest of the social media world, Snapchat is lawless — selfies aren’t stigmatized as something bad, sending penis pics to your male friends doesn’t make you gay and sending nudes of yourself to your significant other doesn’t make you a slut. Even screenshots do little to deter the racy Snapchat spirit — if someone’s snaps are screenshotted, they won’t send any more.

Despite Snapchat perpetually defying my personal social media code, such as selfie-to-selfie communication, I enjoy using it. In fact, now I’ll even send selfies of my own on occasion (which still makes me cringe a bit).

I try my best to not be a hypocrite. If you have strong values, you should to stick by those values and have resolve in them — but when it comes to Snapchat I’m a full-blown liar. And I think that’s fascinating.

Snapchat is the wild west of the social media world, and I’m just another person on a horse, enjoying the ride.


Contact Carl Rosen at [email protected]


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