Over the past two weeks I have followed everyone from Justin Bieber to Kylie Jenner on Snapchat. Three weeks ago I didn’t even know celebrities used Snapchat, but this week, everywhere I look someone famous is announcing they use the medium and I can’t help but pay attention to how.
Snapchat is the infamous App of naked pictures, thanks to the ability to send ‘snaps’ that only appear for a brief moment before disappearing into an inaccessible secret database for eternity. Originally designed to send quick picture/video messages to designated individuals, it has moved on to join the mass media giants like Instagram and can now reach the extent of your social circle. Appropriate pictures included.
Unlike Instagram, Snapchat offers very little in terms of digital editing. There are a total of three filters you can choose between — saturated, black and white, normal — and unlike Vine or Instagram video you can’t doctor the clips to manipulate time. Without the ability to do extensive visual work, or the opportunity to go back and alter something already sent, Snapchat is quickly becoming the most authentic form of social media we have.
Justin Bieber was fun to follow for a moment, but my real guilty pleasure is following fashion bloggers. Just the other day, Damsel in Dior snapped herself sporting a huge pimple and it made my entire day. For a brief moment, we were friends. I was there, drinking prosecco and eating yam fries in Los Angeles, arguing over who had the zit of the century. It was glamorous, despite being genuinely mundane.
So why the shift? People who have made their entire careers out of carefully cultivating the perfect perception of their personas are all of a sudden saying screw it, this is what I am literally doing, right this second, without manipulation.
It’s stop, drop, selfie on a whole other level.
In theory, it’s an easy way for people to show off their jet setting ways, their personal chauffeur, their daddy’s G6 — I’m looking at you, Paulina Gretzky — but it hasn’t worked out that way. People seem to be all too happy to throw the amateur editing out the window. It seems like we have finally found a social medium that excites us to be human.
I’ll admit, sometimes this makes it boring. When you send me a 120 second clip of you singing along to a song in your car I’m going to get the point after about three and turn you off. Sometimes — Kylie Jenner, this one’s for you — you’re just another drunk person in Vegas.
But, there is something to be said for the clear desire to stop caring quite so much about what we’re putting out there.
Recently I had a conversation with a coworker about ‘the cloud.’ She mentioned that with all the privacy concerns and sharing capabilities it’s time we decide to have an open or closed-door policy in our lives and just ride with one or the other to its full extent.
It was a refreshing opinion. Instead of tailoring our privacy settings on each App and each website and each network we use, why not just decide if we’re going to be public or private individuals. Heck, maybe deciding to go completely public would force me to brush my hair in the morning. Maybe it would stop affairs and shady politics.
If we chose to live our lives as if everyone was watching, all the time, would we be better or worse for wear?
Snapchat is fast becoming the reality TV of Social Media and if it’s any indication, good things are coming. Photoshop might finally be on its way out and the fate of this earth might, just possibly, be looking up.
— Andria Parker is an Instagram-obsessed idealist with at least 600 words to share on every topic, ever.