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Snapchat on

Published: Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Updated: Wednesday, February 12, 2014 02:02

Seeing somebody take a selfie in public has become a totally normal phenomenon. But imagine how it must look to somebody who is somehow managing to exist outside of our iPhone-obsessed culture. A person (read: a teenage girl) stopping what they’re doing, holding her phone out an arm’s length, and putting on her best duck-face is, in reality, a pretty strange thing to see. But, nobody thinks anything of it. We all know what taking a selfie looks like. We all know that if a selfie-taker is making a particularly heinous face, that selfie is definitely a Snapchat

Other than an unflattering facial expression that nobody in their right mind would want anybody to see for more than ten seconds, the other dead giveaway that a selfie is a Snapchat is if it’s taken at a ridiculous time. The girl taking a quick selfie in the middle of her lecture class, for instance, is obviously not trying to get a picture to remember how bored she looks on a random Monday morning. This girl is taking a snap to let her friends know what’s up and has no intention of ever seeing that picture again (I’ll neither confirm nor deny ever being this girl). That is the beauty of Snapchat: it allows us to take endless seflies without the embarrassment of having our camera rolls clogged with pictures of ourselves making the same three faces. 

I have mixed feelings about Snapchat. One the one hand, I’m completely obsessed with it. To be completely honest, I have sent four Snapchats in the time it took me to write this column. I’m guilty of sending absolutely pointless Snapchats. I haven’t quite grasped the less-is-more concept yet, so I’m also guilty of bombarding the people on my friends list with far too many Snaps on any given day. I have taken the “just woke up” Snap, the “studying in the library” Snap, and the “my friend is doing something weird and doesn’t know I’m snapping this” Snap. 

On the other hand, I can’t help but be aware of how dumb Snapchat is. A few weeks ago, I was riding the T and was pretty bored, so obviously I started taking Snapchats of myself. I didn’t really think anything of this, until the woman sitting next to me commented to her friend how strange I looked. She made this comment in Spanish, but lucky for me I know enough Spanglish to know what “chica loca” means, and to be able to pick out the word “selfie” in Spanish conversation. When I tweeted about this incident (because if I didn’t tweet about it, did it really happen?), my brother replied that I deserved this comment because “to be fair [I] probably look ridiculous.”

As rude as my brother’s tweet and this random woman’s remark were, I hate to say that I see where they’re coming from. When it’s my friends and I pausing on our way to class to put on our signature selfie faces and take a quick Snapchat, I think it’s the greatest app out there. But, when I’m walking behind people doing the same thing, I can’t help but roll my eyes and think about how weird they look. Even though I know exactly what they’re doing, and so does almost everybody else around them, that doesn’t mean that they don’t look kind of stupid. 

I’m not sure how to rectify this mix of knowing how dumb I look Snapchatting and being obsessed with Snapchatting. Maybe the answer is to stop taking Snaps in public. But really, what’s the fun in that?

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