Snapchat is a free app that lets you share pictures with friends for a maximum of 10 seconds or a minimum of 1 second. Launched in 2011, Snapchat has grown exponentially among users (mainly teens), with an average of 20 million snaps (pictures) being shared every day. In addition to capturing pictures, Snapchat lets you add a short caption to the photo and draw on it using your finger. Users have adopted Snapchat as not only a means of entertainment but a form of communication. Freshman Jonah Ricinati said Snapchat beats texting. “You can actually see the person and they can make you laugh,” he said. “It’s just quicker and more personal.”
With something as simple as a snap and a tap, the phenomenon of Snapchat has become one of the most popular apps used by Shaker students.
Junior Shaun Roy is known by his friends as a frequent snap chatter. “For me personally, Snapchat is a way for me to send funny pictures of things I see to my friends. Often this turns into a conversation where snaps are sent back and forth in a short period of time. This can serve as a wonderful distraction to the busy days I may have,” Roy said.
Senior Ifeolu Claytor said Snapchat is somewhat like Twitter, because it is a way to capture random moments and thoughts, but with pictures instead of words. “It is the funniest thing for the most random moments. I love Snapchat!” Claytor said.
Students prefer Snapchatting to sending pictures via text because sending a picture is not nearly as quick. But Snapchat speed works in more than one way. Sophomore Humara Nadeem said he prefers Snapchat because “other people can’t see the picture and it will be gone unless they screenshot it.”
Many students attempt to amuse their friends by making funny faces in their Snapchats. And although they don’t think they can be humiliated with these, if their friends are quick, they can screenshot, or save a copy of, the snap. Taking a screen shot involves pressing the lock and home buttons on the iPhone simultaneously. Claytor said he has been in a ‘screenshot war’ before, which is when two people using Snapchat go back and forth screen-shotting each other’s snaps, seeing who can manage to get more. These photos are often unflattering, and more often than not the embarrassing pictures resurface on Twitter, Instagram, or other social networks. “I think it’s kind of dumb, and I’ve never done it,” said junior Colleen O’Donnell of the embarrassing posts. “I think it’s all in good fun. I don’t think anyone really does it to be malicious or anything.”
A version of this article appeared in print on 13 December 2012, on page 10 of The Shakerite.