Have you ever wished that the pics you sent to a person who was perhaps flirting with disappear? Surely you have and so have others as well. While this is something which isn’t possible in many other social media and messaging apps but Snapchat makes it possible. Perhaps that’s the reason for its popularity amongst teens as well. But there’s a lot more which makes the app so popular:
Why is snapchat so popular?
Nowadays, a person’s social status is strongly associated with their social media activity no matter where they work or study. This is even more true for students who have more free time and so they want to be in constant communication with others. So young people tend to be more conscious of how their friends and followers respond to their posts. Facebook has become less of a place to interact with friends and more of places where people keep themselves updated on the various activity going on in their circles. This isn’t the site where fun interactions are to be had any longer. These social dynamics also apply to Instagram as well but to a much lesser extent. There the rush is to post and get more followers rather than make friends or spend time chatting with them. But Snapchat is different. Here are some of the reasons why:
- The design is sleek and clean. The buttons are transparent so that it doesn’t distract users from the content on the screen and instead ensures that the full picture can be comfortably viewed.
- The My Story feature allows one to share their experience but doesn’t make one check each and every recipient one after the other. It’s all there in one place to be viewed and the app remembers which ones you have seen and which you haven’t.
- There is a front-facing flash option which allows one to take pictures even in the dark. So now kids will be able to send pics without getting up from the bed and switching on the lights. Although the flash isn’t that great, it’s good for a free app.
- All content here is ephemeral and there are limitations on editing as well. This ensures that there are no take-backs on the pics posted.
- No content poster there can be publicity compared or rated as well.
- The filters and other features only encourage its appeal and allow one to express their individuality. This can be very liberating.
- There is the discover section which is renewed every day and allows one to see what kind of news they want to. This keeps the app fresh and doesn’t flood users with useless advertisements as well.
This makes people more inclined to share and they don’t inhibit as they do on other sites. On snapchat there’s everything from everyday little moments to embarrassing videos and unflattering selfies as well. As such people are free from societal pressure to post specific kinds of things only and so they can be themselves in here.
How is snapchat different from other messaging apps?
Snapchat has taken sexting (a consensual act of sharing intimate photos) from something which was stigmatized and seedy to mainstream and normalized practice. Before snapchat was launched in 2011, sexting was done differently. MMS was used to send explicit erotic images back then. But there was one issue with this- the photos, if once sent would be outside the sender’s control and it would be impossible to get rid of them or delete them. Snapchat presented a solution to this age-old problem. It was a relaxing feeling for people whose relationship ended and who wanted all those nudes to disappear. Along with this it also made life easier for people in abusive relationships since there would be no explicit material using which one of the former partners could blackmail the other one. This is because in snap chat all your sexts and naked selfies get automatically deleted.
To safely send erotic images, read this article.
Sexting still poses risks
But this normalization of the act of sexting can be a double-edged blade for teens. For consenting adults, it can remove judgment and stigma around one’s sexual expression but it does pose a risk for younger people using the app. Sexting is a problem for younger people since there is the issue of revenge porn. While snapchat does delete images once they get viewed but the users can very well screenshot the images to keep for later use. There’s always a chance that the no sharing and no saving rule won’t get respected and a once respectful and loving partner may change his/her ways. Moreover, there are other fears as well, like:
- If these screenshots get posted on other sites then people viewing that post might fear that their partners are also cheating on them.
- There is also a dark web where the usernames of the snapchat users who are willing to sext with strangers are shared.
- The sexting culture of Snapchat has also created a lot of pressure on teens to participate in the act of sexting.
Snapchat as a sexting app
Even though it is popular as a sexting app but it didn’t start off with that intention and as such, it isn’t a foolproof app which will prevent you from suffering the consequences of your decision. There are safety issues as well and you will do well to remember that this kind of consequence-free sexting ended when various third-party apps like Snapchat Hack entered the arena. What apps like this did was that it circumvented the protection wall of Snapchat and allowed users to send and share the images using the apps.
As such snapchat is certainly better than another kind of apps and websites when it comes to sexting and expressing oneself. But people should still be aware that their actions will have consequences, especially since once something is on the internet then it stays there for a long long time. Using the app but with precaution is the best way to proceed for people, especially younger people.