Oh Snap!! What I Think About Snapchat

About three months ago I went to a work conference out of town.  I was holed up in my hotel room and bored so I decided to download snapchat.  I posted my snapcode on Instagram and wrote that I was bored and alone in my hotel room trying to figure out #snapchat.  Don't ever search that hashtag on Instagram.  You can, but you should know that what will come up is a whole lot of porn.  I had never seen that side of Instagram before and I was horrified by all the X rated photos and videos that popped up.  I reported a few as inappropriate, before realizing how futile it was.  Instagram probably can't remove and/or shut down accounts as fast as these photos are posted.  New material popped up every second and then it became clear to me why I gained three new followers, plus a snap of a bare chested man laying down within minutes of my Instagram post.  Little did I know that "bored and alone in a hotel room" is an open invitation for snapchat shenanigans that I want no part in.  Lesson learned.

Snapchat may have started out as a sexual media app, but it's grown into much more than that over the last few years.  Even the old folks are getting involved now.  That would be me. 

What I Like
There is an anonymity and lack of permanence that encourages real life and not the curated life that a lot of people present on Instagram. 
  • Everything disappears after 24 hours.  When it first started it was only 10 seconds.  The ghost image for snapchat is totally appropriate and it is no wonder snapchat started out the way it did.  Friends can screenshot anything posted and save it to their phone, but there is still a disconnect between you and your picture that makes it different than any other social media app.  I am still only going to post things that I am comfortable offering up for public consumption, but the non permanent nature of posts means I put less thought into what I choose to share and don't have to consider if it is "worthy" of posting.  I'll post that goofy selfie that I might not post on Instagram.  There is no trail of posts over time so it won't live on my account forever and ever and all eternity.
  • Everything is real time.  There are a few filters, but you can't upload stock images or pre-prepped photo shopped pics through the app.  There are outside apps that allow you to upload photos from your phone albums, but I tested one out and it sucked.  Plus, it's really too much trouble.  It seems most people just upload as is.
  • It exists as an app only and does not live on the world wide web.  I wonder if that will change, but the internet is forever and it's nice to have a social media app with content that isn't.  I'm sure those snaps don't totally disappear.  They have to be somewhere.  Perhaps the cloud?  But it can't be googled and that's good enough for me.
There are no profiles on Snapchat for selling yourself or trying to appear cool.  There is no bio or place for a web link that provides any indication as to who you are or where you came from. A photo can be added that will sit inside your ghost and be visible when someone adds you as a friend.  If it's not someone you know outside of snapchat the only thing you know about anyone beyond their username or dancing head pic is what is provided in snaps. 
There is no gigantic long feed to scroll through.  There is a list of snaps to view and I can pick and choose what I want to view when I want to view it.

More video and less pictures.  I know that you can post video on Instagram, but a lot of people mainly stick to photos including myself.  I'm finding mostly video clips on Snapchat.  It's interesting to see a different aspect of people and their life in 3D.  I have been following Faith's blog for about 6 years.  After that long, you kind of feel like you know people even though you have never met them.  I hope it's not weird to say this, but it was really cool to hear her voice in a snap.  So that's what she sounds like! It is another way of getting to know people I only know online.

It is 100% consumption.  It's social, but it doesn't encourage being social if that makes any sense.  You view a snap and that's it.  There is nothing further to do.  No liking, no commenting, no favoriting, no sharing.  There is no obligation to interact which means less time spent and I don't have to like or worry about being liked.  

Viewing my own snaps is kind of fun.  We had a good time laying in bed at night looking back on our day together while we were vacationing in Sedona.  If I want to download that "story" and save it to my phone to look back on later or show my mom I can.    

There are no follower counts, stats, comments or likes trying to tell me what I am worth.  In this numbers driven online world it's actually kind of nice.  Each user has a score and it's not even clear what that actually means but it seems to be more about participation than popularity.  According to Snapchat Your Snapchat score is a special equation combining the number of Snaps you've sent and received, Stories you've posted, and other factors.  I can tell how many people view each snap, but beyond that I don't know exactly how many friends I have, unless I count them out on my friend list.  The snapchat score is not on display and only shows up on friends I follow if I tap the username.  I still haven't figured out why some snapchat scores show up and others won't.

I finally know what I look like throwing up a rainbow.  I've always wanted to know. Just kidding, but the new updates are pretty fun.

Snapchat Live and Discover are interesting.  I found the Paris Fashion week Live snaps really fascinating. 

My Snapcode // Username:  MahoganyDrive

What I don't like
It's not very intuitive.  When I first went into the app I was convinced you had to be born in the 90's to figure it out. There were things I couldn't figure out just by playing around with it. Why is there a camera when I open the app?  What am I supposed to do?  How do I find friends?  How do I get those fun filters?  It's so weird.  I experienced similar confusion when I first started using Facebook, but Snapchat is much worse and the support page isn't even that helpful.  I did outside googling to get started and I was still confused.  It is very cryptic, so do not feel stupid if you can't figure it out right away.  The home screen is a camera and is built around what snapchat is all about, and once I followed a few people and figured out that I was doing all there is to be doing it made more sense.  Then, the next step was getting a few followers so I wasn't just snapping myself into the universe for no reason.

You have to hold the button down for the duration of every video snap.  This can make recording awkward at times.

Finding people to friend is difficult.  If I want to add someone I have to know their username.  There is no search feature.  If I am one digit off I might be following someone else entirely.  Friends can also be added by taking a screen shot of a snapcode or scanning a snapcode using the snapchat camera, but I don't see them posted anywhere very often.  It hasn't reached Instagram or Facebook levels.  Not everyone is using it.  Maybe nobody wants to admit to using it.  

Unless you are a celebrity, well known personality or big-time blogger this also makes it difficult to get people to follow you.  Snapchat is an app only and does not live on the world wide web so I can't hyperlink it on my blog.  No one is going to stumble upon my profile.  People have to make the effort to seek out my username.  I do not have a lot of followers.

It uses a crap ton of data.  I found this out the hard way.  Two months in a row we burned through data at an alarming rate and had to pay an overage charge.  MJ had just looked into how much data we were using before he changed our plan and we weren't even coming close to our limit so we couldn't figure out what was going on.  I had a hunch, so I went to google and discovered that Snapchat is a serious data drain.  I did two setting fixes that should help.  In the Snapchat App itself I turned on travel mode, which apparently is a new feature.  This stops stories from loading and using data until I tap on it.  On my phone settings for snapchat I turned off background app refresh to prevent snaps from loading and cellular data.  This means that I cannot login, view or upload new snaps unless I am connected to WiFi.  This means less snapchat for me, because it's not worth going over on data.  Hopefully this fixes our usage problem.

It is also a battery power killer.  I think it drains the battery more than any other app on my phone. 

It's just another social media time suck that I really don't need.  This is a big one.  I am reluctant to become any more involved in social media than I already am so this is the only new social media thing I've tried since Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.  I held out for a while, but I kept hearing about it and curiosity got the best of me.  The concept is no different then any other social media app.  A lot of looking at other people and a lot of look at me!  And for what?  I try to be aware of how much I'm spending on social media and refuse to let it get ridiculous.  I don't want to be that person who can't get their head out of their phone, because there are far too many things in life that are far more important than social media. Which really isn't that important at all.  

My husband thinks I'm weird for using snapchat, and sometimes I am slightly embarrassed that I am even interested.  What am I doing with my life?  Why do I participate in any of this social media madness?  Why do I care and what does that say about me as a person?  I haven't snapped much lately as I ponder these questions.  I'm nosy by nature and have always had an interest in peeking into other peoples lives.  It's why I originally became interested in reality TV, before it got all crazy, and just one reason why I was interested in blogs.  In my opinion Snapchat is better for that than Instagram, Facebook or Twitter. 

This post went on way longer than I intended and despite this wall of text I'm still not sure how I feel about it!  I think the word is ambivalent.  How do you feel about Snapchat.  Yeah or Nay?

What I think About Facebook


P!nky said...

I am not on snapchat and despite friends and family members asking me to join I've chosen to stay away. I just don't need the extra time suck and I'm kind of put off by another way to 'look at me' aspect of it, ya know?

Faith said...

I signed up and shared a few videos but quickly lost interest. I guess I'm not into video as much as I am into cameras, Instagram, blogging. It took me FOREVER to figure it out too and once I did (kinda, sorta) it lost its appeal, lol.

But I do enjoy looking at other's videos once in a while.

Faith said...

And LOL!! to what I sound like!!! I sound strange on video!!! I'm like, I don't sound like that!!!

Kate at Green Fashionista said...

I have noticed it's a huge data and battery killer too *womp womp*, but it is fun sometimes :)

Green Fashionista

Jackie @ A Better Me said...

I downloaded it, but couldn't get into it. I think it's fun in a way where if you're out doing something cool, you can take a million pictures without flooding your instagram feed. I just like instagram better.

Law_Fal said...

I tried to get into snapchat but it never really caught my attention. And yikes for the perv IG you saw. That's gross!!!!!!

Beks said...

I had a friend who was really into SnapChat, so I got it, but used it like three times. I. Just. Don't. Get. It. (Even though, I probably should to help build my blogs. Oy. Youths!).

Anonymous said...

I loathe snapchat. Too many people use them to snap embarrassing photos of people not paying attention just to make fun of them. I hate all social media actually LOL

Ashley R said...

I took have been experimenting with Snap Chat and have a a lot of the same feelings as you. I definitely agree that it is not very intuitive though and still frustrates me sometimes!

<3 Have Ashley

Ashley R said...

*i too