Opinion | Snapchat is redundant and manipulative

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By Maii Rashed, Columnist

I don’t like talking on Snapchat. Don’t get me wrong — I think social media is just dandy! I love seeing pictures of my friends having a good time, and it’s fun to express my support through comments on those pictures. However, I just don’t really like taking pictures of myself.

I don’t like the entire ordeal of having my picture taken. Of course, this has caused much contention between my friends, my peers and me. I never got peer-pressured into smoking, drinking or doing drugs in high school. I did, however, and still do, get constantly coerced into having my picture taken.

Over time I’ve just had to accept that sometimes I have to get past my aversion to camera lenses and take one for the team for the sake of being a more congenial person. However, my disinterest in pictures reaches its peak with Snapchat.

I have never understood the attraction to the entire concept of the app. First on my list of grievances is the notion of “streaks,” an algorithm which marks the number of consecutive days you and a friend have sent a picture to each other. Trying to keep “streaks” seems to motivate the constant flurry of random images and pictures sent to one another. But to me, it has always been a source of anxiety since so much pressure is ascribed to keeping them. That’s why whenever I see that I have a streak with someone, I purposefully break it to avoid any high expectations that could potentially be set.

Beyond the fact that streaks are anxiety-inducing, they can also encourage bad friendships. I have noticed more than one person continue to communicate with a toxic friend simply for the sake of upholding their “streak.” Is our mental health worth the satisfaction of seeing that “streak” number climb? I don’t think so.

The entire concept is simply a tool employed to hook users into constantly using the application. No matter how tired I grow of the app, the ploy of a “reward” with a number tacked onto the end of someone’s profile is simply genius. When I first got a phone and downloaded Snapchat, I felt the same pressure to keep up with it myself.

Moreover, I feel that the use of the app is sometimes redundant. Apart from sending each other pictures and posting on “stories,” users communicate on the app through the private messaging feature. But isn’t that the exact same thing as texting? It’s more work than texting for individuals with a bad memory, like me, since I have to save every single individual message that gets sent to me so I don’t forget what we were talking about.

Someone recently remarked to me that Snapchat is simply “more natural” than texting. But to be honest, I am still confused about how that could possibly be true. Is it the pictures, or the idea that what you say could easily be erased and never seen again? If it’s the latter, then that’s entirely what makes me nervous about the app in the first place.

I’ve become known in my social circle as someone to be reached via text since I likely will not be on Snapchat as consistently as other people. Some find this understandably annoying. For that, I apologize. I just don’t spend much time on Snapchat because I find it redundant and manipulative.

However, I feel as though I can’t delete it because many feel more comfortable communicating through an app rather than a personal phone number. Still, a big part of me can’t wait until everyone stops using it, like Vine, and I can just delete it and never think about it again.

So to my friends and acquaintances, please don’t take offense, but for the love of everything that is good in this world, just text me.

Maii is a freshman in LAS. 

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