Within the past 9 years, Snapchat has risen to become one of the most popular social media apps, now hosting roughly 238 million active users a day. Just because this platform is based on “communication,” however, doesn’t mean it hasn't changed how we define the word.
In essence, there’s just something so narcissistic about sending other people pictures of your face on a daily basis. Rarely do these pictures provide any substance or conversation outside of maintaining a “streak” of mediocre selfie exchanges.
In all honesty, the person receiving the Snapchat doesn’t actually care about your face or day-to-day surroundings. For them, it’s more about getting the opportunity to validate themselves and what they’re doing. It’s a vicious cycle in which neither person actually cares about the other, just their own self-interest.
The Best Friends list, Snap Scores and Snap Map provide unhealthy tools for quick obsessions to form. They elevate casual relationships to ones that more closely resemble stalking.
The interactions on the app are obviously fake and shallow exchanges devoid of any actual substance. If any conversation was really that important, it could take place over text or phone call instead of over a picture of your face with a puppy dog filter on it.
Such face-altering filters are a notable aspect of the app. While these aren’t exclusive to the platform, the ease of the function is. When users open the app, the filtering feature is one of the first things suggested to them.
Filters ruin confidence in one’s natural beauty and often push Eurocentric standards. A filter can distort an entire face, often misrepresenting one's appearance in photos. This can make meeting Snapchat friends for the first time awkward when they don't look the same in real life.
The initial appeal of the app was its focus on privacy, which was especially alluring for users sending risqué images. While this isn’t alarming for consenting adults, it is a sketchy motive for a platform primarily geared towards teenagers.
The platform allows for unsolicited add requests from strangers, another thing which can be dangerous for underage users. These users may be pretending to be someone else, potentially tricking younger kids into submission.
However, this untraceable form of communication is attractive even outside of sexual or predatory purposes. It’s now easier than ever for users to gossip or spread racist or malicious content without running the risk of someone else ever finding it.
In June of this year, a leaked Snapchat video of a student using racial slurs resulted in her being removed from the University’s Tri Delta sorority.
A similar occurrence also took place this summer when a prospective University freshman posted a Snapchat video in which he described himself "hating" Black people.
Occurrences like these are all but unfamiliar thanks to Snapchat. One leaked video, however, is a single example out of millions unseen.
Snapchat does more harm than good altogether by creating more stress than necessary. It has completely distorted younger generations' sense of communication.
Gabrielle Martinez is a 20-year-old mass communication sophomore from Gonzales.