The Problem With Snapchat

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I’ve fully accepted, and regularly participate in, the selfie phenomenon. Who doesn’t? It’s a fixed habit for those who own a device with a forward-facing camera.

Though cameras have been pervasive for years now, the combination of those little inventions and social media is a deadly one. And every day, it gets a little more lethal.

We first mastered the archaic mirror selfie back when Nickleback was on the radio. We duck faced between the toothpaste stains on our bathroom mirrors and chucked up the peace sign to get that perfect default on Myspace. It was, though, exclusively for Myspace. Technology continued to revolutionize, as technology does, with a new forum each year to share pictures of sunsets and Starbucks orders and, of course, selfies.

There’s nothing wrong with a little self-indulgence on Instagram, as its sole purpose is to stroke the ego. And on the ‘gram, users have the option to unfollow people whose pictures they don’t want to see.

Enter: Snapchat.

Now, this may come as a shock to you, but Snapchat is a dangerous place. There’s something terrible happening behind the yellow screen with the little white ghost that we can’t see, something that nobody has control of. And that’s the problem.

In fact, most of us aren’t even aware that it’s happening, and that’s why I’m bringing it to your attention.

I have a select number of Snapchat friends who blow up my phone with five-second selfies that have a little annotation describing what they’re doing. Some of these people are my very best friends, so who am I to tell them that I have no interest in seeing their face? No, their photos are not harmful, but yes, the constant influx can get annoying. But then, there are the people who do put me in a bad place, and I’m sure I’m not the only person in this position.

For about four months, every time that one of my best friends sent a nude to her boyfriend, she would send it to me, too. The first time it happened, it was an accident. It was funny. But then it got old. And then she stopped calling me and texting me, distancing herself. Eventually, the only times I ever heard from this girl were when she would send a fleeting nude to her boyfriend. It was like our friendship was hanging by the thread of what she perceived to be an inside joke.

And then there are the dudes. The shockingly high number of guys–who know very well that I have a boyfriend, whom I adore–who regularly send me half-naked photos of themselves. Or provocative crotch shots. Or dick pics. Or a selfie asking me to send a picture of my ass.

It’s amazing what people will do when they know, or think, that nobody will find out.

I can honestly say that I’ve never responded. Ever. That’s not me–I don’t play those games.

But as the receiver of such photos, I’m in one of the most uncomfortable positions I’ve ever been in. Some of these guys have held my hair back after six too many shots. They’ve carried me to a chair when I broke an ankle. They’ve walked me to my car. They stayed on the phone with me while I cried over an ex late at night.

So what do we do when some of the people who we love the most are the ones who are hurting us, even though it may appear to them as harmless?

Morally, is it okay to block them? To delete them? Won’t we look like the weak ones if we delete our ex after a breakup? To whom do we owe an explanation?

As we all know, deleting someone on social media has become the new “fuck you.” But sometimes, for our own safety and happiness, we need to. And though Snapchat has become the app for silly faces and ephemeral nudes, those pictures carry a lot of weight, and you better trust the receiver with your entire life.

Since we collect “friends” on social media like squirrels collect acorns, there are a lot of fucking people looking at our lives. So respect your Snapchat “friends” and remember that even though the picture might be gone from your phone forever, you’re interrupting someone’s day to send them a picture of your face, or in some cases, your genitals.

This is the new narcissism.

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