It’s like a plague, spreading around the world and taking innocent millennials captive in its ruthless grasp. At first, it seems harmless, until it begins to take over your life, leaving you addicted and huddled in a corner, contemplating the meaning of your existence.
No, this isn’t the introductory chapter of my new thriller novel about a narcotics addiction or the return of the Black Death. It’s a slightly over-dramatic interpretation of Snapchat, everyone’s favorite photo sharing app.
I downloaded Snapchat a few years ago, eager to send horrendous double-chin (or let’s be real… quadruple-chin) selfies to my friends. Since then, Snapchat has evolved a lot (along with my chin-producing abilities), with each innovation drawing me in to spend more time using the app.
And I’m not the only one. Lately, I’ve realized that many people in my generation overuse Snapchat and feel compelled to capture footage of every semi-exciting moment in their everyday lives. But one recent experience really ticked me off and brought me to my breaking point. I was at a quaint coffee shop doin’ my thang and getting’ ish done while sipping a dank dirty chai latte. Though I was in the zone, I’m a people-watcher at heart and couldn’t help but observe. In just one hour, I witnessed three separate groups of girls walk in, order their drinks, and proceed to take multiple Snapchats posing with their coffee before they even enjoyed their first sip. This was just the icing on the cake and really got me thinking… what the hell is the point of it all?
Why do we feel compelled to Snapchat photos to people who we may see on an everyday basis?
Why do we use the Snapchat chat capability even though it’s literally just a more secretive form of texting?
Why do we feel like posting a ‘story’ is some sort of requirement we have to check off in order to enjoy an experience, whether it’s a meal or a concert?
Why do we need to constantly be aware of what our friends and acquaintances are doing 24/7, especially when all it ever really does is give us FOMO?
If you’re a Snapchat user in denial about your dependence on the app, I’ve put together a little checklist for you to gauge the level of your addiction. Here are a few signs you may be a Snapchat abuser:
- You feel as though you can’t really enjoy an experience unless you Snapchat it first.
- You go out of your way to do something purely for the sake of Snapchatting it.
- You have an in-depth internal debate about how many seconds to set your Snapchat for before posting it to your story or sending it directly to your friends.
- You take more than a few seconds to take and send a Snapchat photo, whether deciding on the caption, filter, or angle at which you take it.
- You find yourself saying, “Oh wait, lemme snap this first” multiple times a day.
- You constantly check to see who has viewed your Snapchat story (mostly just to make sure that one guy/girl you used to hook up with saw it).
Below is a key for you to figure out the exact level of your potential addiction, depending on how many of the above actions you’ve done in the past.
0-1: The Beginner’s Level
Chances are you either just downloaded the app or you’re a hipster who doesn’t want to succumb to the mainstream nature of it. Either way, you don’t depend on the app nearly as much as others in your generation and are probably too busy using Tumblr.
2-3: The Intermediate Level
You know the ropes of Snapchat by now. It’s the first app you check out when you wake up and the last one you look at before falling asleep. You enjoy posting stories when you’re doing something fun with friends, but you don’t care much if you forget to document an exciting moment.
4-5: The Expert Level
Snapchat is the most used app on your phone, even more than Facebook. When you have a split second of downtime — whether you’re on the bus or waiting for class to start — your first instinct is to catch up on your friends’ stories. Your alter ego is most likely the sorority girls who got famous for taking selfies during a baseball game.
All 6: The Hopeless Addict Level
You rely on this like babies rely on their mother’s milk, druggies rely on their dealer, or law students rely on caffeine. You’re in too deep and there’s no turning back. Rehab may be necessary.
Now, don’t get me wrong… I’m an avid Snapchatter myself, typically sending cringe-worthy selfies to my friends and posting semi-obnoxious stories every time I’ve consumed one too many glasses of Moscato. Plus, I think it’s a great way for brands to showcase their company culture and build a strong relationship with their customers. But people of my generation spend way too much time on it, causing a need to be constantly updated with the goings-on of their acquaintances. It’s gotten to the point that it takes away from people’s ability to enjoy things in the moment. What ever happened to the days of eating a meal without snapping a photo first, or attending a concert without taking Snapchat videos of every song? Let’s bring those days back, shall we?
So, fellow 20something, I challenge you to only use Snapchat once a day, or just delete the app altogether.
Sure, you’ll feel symptoms of withdrawal at first, but you’ll regain your ability to truly live in the moment. Plus, with all the time you’ll free up by not wasting it on Snapchat, you’ll have a chance to enjoy the finer things in life, like losing yourself in a good book… or binging on cookie dough and holiday movies on ABC Family.
The moment this article gets published marks the moment I will begin my personal hiatus from Snapchat. Although I didn’t reach “The Hopeless Addict Level” of addiction, I’m looking forward to disconnecting a bit. It’s been real, Snapchat. Deuces.