Why I’ll Never Join Snapchat

There are some modern phenomena that have – for obvious reasons – passed my by. Tinder; Happn; sadly otherwise engaged when these burst onto the app scene. But one that I have deliberately abstained from, with a resistance that borders on technological intertia, is Snapchat. That ghostly little app with his irksome insouciance and look-at-me skit bears no truck with me. I will not lower myself to his ghoulish depths; I will not, in short, become hooked with yet another platform to ‘express myself’.

Oh we’re all so keen to express ourselves these days. From the way we sip our juices to the mechanics of your slut drops, no moment must go undocumented. This is not self-expression through the art of conversation (you can’t caption a conversation), of course, but through social media gimmickry. Snapchat has become the ‘off duty’ portal for the public personas, a place to share the details that aren’t picturesque enough for Instagram (which in itself raises an uncomfortable conversation about what we allow to survive for posterity and what we deem worthy of disappearing after a few seconds.) A place to circulate videos that emphasise your GSOH without sullying your other archives. Drip feed the exclusives to your baying public. And for those – most of us – who don’t have a public? It’s an ego-inflater of mass proportions; to presume that anyone would be interested in your tantalising tasters of how kooky you are.

I’m not normally a bad sport. I don’t deny anyone their lols. Indeed, this diatribe may sound odd, coming from me. I’m all over social media like a nasty smell. I was mugged (hashtag pity party) the night before last and to be scroll-free in Instagram circs for 36 hours before my new phone arrives has felt extraordinary. I’ve actually read two whole magazines. One with a 10-page article! And in the interests of full disclosure, I actually did join Snapchat. Once. Two years ago. Before it became the forest fire it is now. I quit after a week because of all the stories centring on Snapchat bullying in schools. That very ability to make your Snapchat disappear was causing bullies to taunt untracked. It was the app store bully. I thought it loathsome to have something on my telephone that was so rife in teenage strife. Did I really need it, anyway?

Since then, the app has quite literally exploded. It’s taking over from Instagram! Cry the stats, excitedly. (It was valued at approximately $19 billion, as of February this year.) Luxury brands like Michael Kors are on it (as a marketing tool, I get it) and instead of Vevo, artists are using it to drip-feed teasers of their news videos. Also on it: almost everyone I know. Where a description of yourself of your profession used to inhabit your Twitter or Instagram bio, now it’s your snapchat name. Come follow me on YET ANOTHER PLATFORM, is the message, as I weep into my tea and consider the prospect that soon the only thing left to see some people do it take a shit. And in truth, I’d rather watch them take a shit then follow them on Snapchat.

There are two main reasons I won’t join Snapchat – aside from its discomfiting transience and abdication of responsibility and the aforementioned saturation of vainglorious outlets. And that is 1): I do not have time. I mean I REALLY do not have time. Already running the various outlets that accompany a blog seems, at times, a dreadful waste of man hours. The thought of keeping up with yet another medium instead of, say, writing something pertinent (rare at best) is enough to make me place my pillow on my face and squash. 2) – and take a deep breath here – I do not believe it will last. Yup, you heard me. Defying the odds, the bookies, the human quota that proves otherwise. Why? Because it’s not curatorial. You cannot build a Snapchat lifestyle like Instagram, or Twitter, or Facebook or any other feed. It is, quite literally, a flash in the pan. And when the seconds have passed, like a mere aberration in time, you are left with nothing. A metaphor for modern life? That’s worthy of more debate. But for now, count me out.

Illustration by Daisy Wallis.

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