A Slave to Snapchat: My Story

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By Nour Elkassabany, Staff Reporter

I’ve never been one to hop on the bandwagon soon enough. Each new craze doesn’t capture my attention until everyone else is over it. Depending on what said craze is, I can get away with it or completely miss the mark. For instance, by the time I had downloaded Trivia Crack, there was no one left to play with.

Snapchat initially hit the scene in 2011. When it gained popularity among my friends and other hip teenagers two years later, during my sophomore year, I was adamantly against the concept. Who could possibly find joy in sending pictures and videos for ten seconds (or less)? Caption space was incredibly limited, selfies were relied on too heavily, that ghost mascot made no sense. I was alarmed at the amount of people who urged me to download the app. How could my friends (or so I thought) possibly stand behind something that was so fundamentally against my phone practices and policies?

But here I am today, as a senior, enslaved to Snapchat. The majority of my internet data is sacrificed to this app. I go through my phone battery twice a day because of it. It’s progressed beyond checking for new filters and geotags. I’ve looked up what trophies are offered and proceeded to send 30 consecutive snaps with big text to achieve them. In three months, my score tripled. It sounds shameful, but this is my life.

To think that I didn’t understand the merit of a Snapstreak. There was a point in my life that when offered the opportunity to begin a photographic journey with a friend, I declined. I denied myself the chance to elevate the Snapchat experience, to transform it into a high stakes adventure. To kindle that flame (emoji), to nourish it, to maintain it: that requires dedication. Perhaps I just was not ready for the responsibility. I wasn’t ready to memorize the specific times at which the 24-hour window to maintain a streak could potentially expire. I know what it takes now. I respect the grind.

I will admit that I am far from the perfect user. I am guilty of opening snaps withouts replying. I am guilty of sending impersonal mass snaps. I am guilty of over-posting on my story. To master social media is a difficult, nearly impossible task. I acknowledge that my Snapchat score may not be the highest, I may not have the longest streaks or the most friends, but I can attest to the fact that I’ve captured the spirit of the app. That spirit mostly consists of making my eyes larger with the aid of filters and posting jokes only I understand (or find funny) on my story, for all my friends to see.

You know how the saying goes: a picture is worth a thousand words.

Does it still hold true if I’ve taken several thousands of pictures, most of which have been completely and totally forgotten?

Nour Elkassabany can be reached at [email protected].