Gone are the days of dog filters and sequences of “streaks” selfies that characterize the typical presence Snapchat had in our generation’s preteen years. However, the social media app remains a prominent fixture in the lives of many, if not most, college students.
I’m not a Snapchat boycotter preaching down to the masses; I’ll be the first to admit I use Snapchat on a daily, if not hourly, basis. I dread the screen time report that Apple sends its users on Sundays– Snapchat tops the ranks of my daily app usage by far.
Thus, this article is clearly directed at a population of people I can identify with.
Mindless scrolling is a vice that I have succumbed to several times over the course of writing this article. Ironic.
But taking a step back, I shudder at how many hours of my life I must have wasted sending pictures back and forth to people I rarely talk to in person.
How does a picture of my forehead mindlessly sent to multiple peers contribute to my social media experience?
I realized how deeply this app had permeated my life when I could identify who had Snapchatted me based on their Bitmoji rather than their name on my home screen.
I’m no stranger to picking up my phone every few minutes to appease my social media dependency. However, I could get the same, or even improved, quality of visual interaction by making eye contact with the people passing by my table in Harper.
Maybe I’ve missed an interesting bird flying past the window. Maybe I wouldn’t have tripped up the stairs of Hixson-Lied had I not been busy sending a blurry photo of said stairs to someone. Perhaps I’d be forced to greet the people I know on the mall.
Let’s say a typical student spends an average of one to two hours on Snapchat per day. That’s up to 14 hours per week, which adds up to 728 hours each year spent on Snapchat. It takes 480 hours to achieve basic fluency in a language and 52 hours to read the Bible cover to cover. 182 marathons could be run in the yearly time spent on Snapchat. Becoming proficient at playing the guitar takes around 625 hours.
If reading a book takes about five hours on average, almost 146 books could be read in a year just by using the time dedicated to Snapchatting people.
A lot could be accomplished if people redirected and maximized the time they spent sending selfies back and forth.
One may think that a simple solution to erasing this time-suck is to just stop using it. Brilliant, really!
Why has no one tried that? Potentially because of the concept of FOMO.
While walking through Creighton’s halls, how many times have you heard “Did you see so and so’s snap story?” Likely more than you realize.
Snapchat stories are how many share their daily lives, no matter how minuscule the event. Being added to someone’s private story is a privilege. Someday my kids may ask me, “Mom, what does ‘swiping up on the priv’ mean? Why is being ‘left on open’ a big deal? Did people really say ‘AMOS’ instead of asking someone for their phone number when you were our age?”
Unless, of course, Snapchat survives this generation and is passed down to the next. That is a frightening thought, especially because the children of this generation gain access to the Internet at such a young age that they seem better at exploring the digital world instead of the one they live in.
Once we graduate college, the next milestone in our lives is entry into the workforce. Are we going to ask our older coworkers for their snap codes? Take selfies at our desks? Endure dating in our twenties through the same avenues used by 12-year-olds? I hope not.
I’m not saying that we should delete the app now. It has its merits, like the memories feature where you can revisit what you were doing one, two, three, years ago today.
Plus, it’s entertaining.
But I do think we should normalize asking people for their phone numbers and remind ourselves of Snapchat’s counter-productive nature.
It’s time to stop getting offended by being “left on delivered” and measure the worth of our relationships in the real world rather than through social media etiquette; we all have bigger and better things to do.
And boy, do I hope I see those bigger and better things on everyone’s Snapchat stories.