Keep your news out of my selfies
August 9, 2016
Did you know it was Earth Day last Friday? If yes, did you know because you actually knew Earth Day was an event every year on April 22nd, or did you know because you saw the Earth Day geofilters when you were flipping through filters trying to capture the perfect Snapchat selfie?
As the election cycle has progressed, people across the country have posted snap stories with the filters that show live polling results on election days. Would they have tracked the results otherwise?
Is this how we get our world news now — through filters and live stories on Snapchat?
Not everyone needs to be like me and read world news stories every day, but we can do better than getting news from Snapchat.
Snapchat is great; it enables us to see the day-to-day happenings of our friends, send messages we don’t want to last for more than a second, and follow international festivals and sporting events.
As great as Snapchat is for these reasons, it should not be used to convey serious world news.
Snapchat started to develop its news and information distribution with the addition of the “Discover” section, but I personally don’t think that this feature has the most viewers.
Besides filters for national days of celebration and election results, companies have shared international campaigns, and presidential candidates have not only spoken to their own constituents at primaries and caucuses through Snapchat stories, but even paid for filters against their opponents.
Maybe this is good for people who would otherwise not be following news at all. Maybe it’s just a sign of the contemporary times that people don’t want to read lengthy articles, and they don’t want to even watch four-minute videos — they want all the news they need overlaid on top of their perfectly angled selfies.
If Snapchat is going to be used as a world news source, other steps should be taken to ensure people get more of a complete look at the top stories of the day. Filters could be linked to the Discover section or to an article online, so people actually can learn more about a subject that interests them.
Snapchat, for me, is a great way to keep up with events in my local community, with features such as campus story and temporary snap filters used for events like the “It’s On Us” Week of Action and the Illini Building Bridges campaigns which both had filters you could use if you were on the Main Quad.
With this in mind, this app’s primary purpose should remain personal connectivity. We should use Snapchat to talk to our friends one-on-one, see daily recaps of our friends’ lives, see what the rest of this campus is up to and see simple personal videos of people around the world enjoying their cities and celebrating holidays.
Let’s keep national and international news stories to the outlets that report on them. For now, we should keep using Snapchat to send unfortunate pictures and keep up with friends in a fun and easy way.
Hayley is a freshman in ACES.