Let’s start with a strong statement: I fucking hate Snapchat (and yes, the ‘fucking’ is necessary.)
Let me tell you why.
I abhor the way the app allows you to mess with your appearance, so that people can legitimately claim they “don’t take themselves too seriously” because they got a rainbow to shoot out of their lips, or bunny ears to spring out of their head. Yes, Victoria’s Secret angels, I’m looking at you. Supermodels are not the only (or even the worst) perpetrators, though. I’ve never seen anything more overwrought than a faux-sexy video of a British reality TV starlet lying in the bath, as the shower pulses onto her extendable ‘doggy’ tongue, latterly spilling out and down over her breasts. Why are the only Snapchat filters people post those which are cute ‘n cuddly? Why can’t you make a video where a stream of emoji turds flow forth from your mouth? Translation, of course: I speak fluent bullshit.
More than that, though, I hate that there is even a reason for Snapchat to exist. “My lunch at the Polo Lounge today” might read the beginning of an Instagram caption. “See more on Snapchat!” More? MORE? One picture of your lunch wasn’t enough?
Popular culture is peddling the ruse that Snapchat exists to document the BTS moments. Like Instagram is too glossy for your funny moments to exist in permanence. Too ugly! Ewww. Too blurry! Ewwww. You are either polished or funny and ne’er those states shall cross. (To which I say, captions allow you to be both and if you don’t dream in captions, then we can’t be friends.)
I have been on trips with fellow journalists, sitting with my hands folded whilst their iPhones dip and soar across the topography of a table/sculpture/hotel for what feels like days. But — dare I say it — some moments don’t need to be recorded for posterity.
DID THE TRUMAN SHOW NOT SCARE YOU GUYS?
I struggle with the one-sidedness of Snapchat. The transience which allows for such thoughtless vapidity. (You have to consider things a little more before releasing anything into the other social media ethers.) Snapchat is not an interactive forum; there is no comment section for discussion. Instead, this solo slide-show of sorts triumphs.
The only time I have come close to appreciating Snapchat’s vanities is when I was peak alcohol, recently, at a friend’s bachelorette party. “Do you have Snapchat?” she said. “I fucking hate Snapchat,” I replied, because I am nothing if not consistent. I was also shocked. This was a friend whose only concession to social media is Instagram and even on that, she is lackadaisical. Her husband enforces a ‘one photo per holiday’ rule which already sets us leagues apart. What was she doing on Snapchat, of all things?
But then we went through the filters. I quickly found that when you’re five espresso martinis down, face distortion is a scream. I have always loved face distortion: nothing tickles me more than teeny tiny pinchy lips, rabbity eyes with wiggly brows and gigantic swollen cheeks.
OK, I conceded, this is quite fun. Everyone’s allowed to flirt with their dark side — like the nicotine refusenik gulping down a tar stick on a fire escape one bad New Year too many. Luckily, I was too drunk to download the app on to my phone. The next morning, I woke up and breathed an actual-not-metaphorical sigh of relief. I’m safe from the rainbows for one more day.