It has taken me a while to get into Snapchat… Like most new social media, I signed up early on, but with this one, I just didn’t feel the need to use it until recently, when my best friend moved away.
My BFF and I would usually text a lot, but with her being out of town, I began feeling the need to share more insignificant moments of everyday life. Even text messaging began feeling too much as messages would be archived until manually deleted from the phone. So, we committed to trying Snapchat. I finally get it, and I love it!
The impermanence of Snapchat messages invites a playfulness that I wouldn’t otherwise engage in. It also makes the conversation feel light enough that even insignificant everyday moments are OK to share. I feel that being part of these little quotidian moments is an important part of close relationships. If you think about it, talking to a best friend about your last couple of days can take hours, whereas recapping the past year can be done in a couple of sentences (“Got married. New job is fine. How are you?”).
I love the silly and fun filters and I think they play a role in encouraging interaction – sometimes, I am inclined to send a silly selfie just because I enjoy using one of the new filters. It is a light-hearted way of saying “hello” – and a good way to see each other’s faces. Don’t you hate it when you haven’t seen a good friend in a while and when you meet you are shocked by how much they’ve changed? It makes me feel like I have missed so much of their lives. Being the grown-up academics that we are, we probably would not exchange selfies on text message, but Snapchat’s playfulness makes it OK to be silly.
There is something very beautiful about teenage female friendships – when you first discover how important, awesome and necessary girlfriends are. Snapchat has the capacity to bring the joy and intensity of teenage friendships into this middle aged lady’s life, and for that, I am grateful.
The downside, though, is that messages disappear too quickly. Being the grown-ups that we are, we sometimes have lengthy conversations. If I leave the app for a moment, to grab a link, for example, previous messages disappear. This middle-aged lady has the working memory of a goldfish, and my BFF’s is not much better, so occasionally we end up having goldfish conversations about what it is that we were talking about a few moments earlier 🙂
So, this is the value that Snapchat has for my life. What about you?
[Stories, which are shared publicly, are a different… well, story, and I’ll leave them outside the scope of this blog post.]