Recently, I overheard a conversation between friends talking about Snapchat. One friend was holding the phone up to take a snap and the other was wondering why the snap needed to be taken and shared. Then, the conversation changed to talking about Snapchat as a platform and why it’s popular right now.
Many articles have shared reasons why they think Snapchat is growing in popularity — either because our attention spans are decreasing and a quick selfie is all we’re capable of, or because, unlike Instagram, people are using Snapchat as an imperfect way to share their life. I like the second reason.
For years, I've seen Instagram profiles evolve into different forms of being aesthetically pleasing. Sometimes I feel intimidated to post an imperfect photo. Some profiles have become so curated; they’ve set a high bar for what is possible to create and share on this platform. Instagram has become more than just sharing a photo among friends. Before posting, you may subconsciously consider: How will the photo look in my profile? How many likes will this get? If I use these hashtags, will I gain more followers or likes? What will the caption be? Is the caption too long? There are many road-block thoughts that could result in not sharing at all.
While I still enjoy following others and sharing on Instagram, I feel pressured to be perfect instead of authentic.
On Snapchat, it seems, you’re free to be yourself and create whatever you’d like because it’s ephemeral. When you take a snap, you have a limited amount of time to capture. Real life changes faster than you can style a photo. You can retake your selfie in better light or re-do a snap if the timing doesn’t work on the first try, but it is tough to try to be perfect. Plus, no one is looking for you to be perfect here. You can control whether you’d like to share with specific people or to everyone on your story. Either way you share, viewers gain a more realistic view of your world, your day, or how silly you can look with a wide-eyed filter while you’re vomiting a rainbow. The appeal of this platform is that the pressure to manifest a visually perfect life is removed. All that is left to show is you. People like it best when you are yourself.
I don’t snap every day, but I enjoy sharing occasionally on Snapchat (username – coloregrace). It's fun, low-pressured, and I feel like I can be myself.