confusedsnapchatI recently heard the comedian, Bill Simmons, say something along the lines of anyone over 25 that claims to understand Snapchat is lying. I thought, “Yes! That is the truth!”. At least for me anyway. All of my younger friends use it almost daily. However, I could not understand why they could not just text the pictures to their intended recipients.  What made Snapchat so much better, so special?

I asked my best friend, Nicole, to explain to me what made Snapchat so awesome and she sent me this list:

  1. You get to see my face daily.
  2. You can say things and they only last for a max of 10 seconds
  3. You can send funny/inappropriate stuff (not nudes but just stuff you can’t post on your other social media) and it only lasts for 10 seconds.
  4. The funny filters make me laugh.
  5. You can send goofy or serious (mostly goofy) videos and it only lasts 10 seconds.
  6. It’s fun.
  7. It’s fun unless you’re drunk. Then you wake up and realize that you sent a video or pictures and forgot what they said. Lol!
  8. You get to see my face daily

snapchat1However, I still needed more information. I took to the google. The Snapchat app was created by Evan Spiegel, Bobby Murphy, and Reggie Brown while attending Stanford University. The app was launched in September of 2011. Since its release date, they have continuously been adding new effects and features video, filters, special effects, text captions, and many more. This was be steadily increasing the number of users. Seems simple enough.

snapchat2But what about the feature where the image/video vanishes forever into the ether after 10 seconds, never to be seen again? Well, Snapchat cannot not stop people from screenshotting the image. However, when this does happen, Snapchat will notify the other party that a screenshot has been taken. A notification is nice but what if the picture is particularly damning? What if it was inappropriate or even a nude photo? Nicole might not use it for this purpose, but I am 100% sure that there are many people who do send nude photos through Snapchat since they feel it is safer than texting. Something like this could potential ruin a person’s professional and even personal life. There are also other ways of permanent saving Snapchat photo’s and videos. Everything from capturing it with another camera or phone to apps that will secretly save them without notifying the other party. Even websites that have tutorials that promise to teach you how to secretly save photos in 13 easy steps. They even include pictures to walk you through the process.

snapchat3Once your 10 second Snapchat has vanished, it still is not actually gone. It remains stored in your account. If relevant to a police investigation, Snapchat must provide at least the last 200 incoming and outgoing messages. And there is also a decent chance that your account may have more than just the last 200 photos saved. There is no clarification as to how far back your Snapchat history is actually recorded in your account. Snapchat has chosen not to share that information with the public. Remember, just like with the internet, once a photo is shared, it will always be out there. You just have to know where to look.

I decided to bite the bullet and download the app. I have now been using it for a little over a week. I mostly take selfies and play with the filters. Then add text caption to say what I am doing at the moment. I do not hate it. Overall, my impression is neutral. I don’t send anything on there that I would not send on a text. It does not matter to me if it lasts for 10 seconds or until the end of time. The biggest positive is that I do, in fact, get to see my best friend’s beautiful face several times a day. In the end, pop culture, I say this is a draw. Snapchat does not exactly improve my life but it does not make it worse either.