Okay, so I gave in this month.
I downloaded Snapchat.
And yes, everyone explained to me how out of touch I am that it took me so long to jump on the snapping bandwagon.
My change of heart toward the app came when I was emceeing an event at a local high school. As I was tweeting out pictures and updates, a group of kids told me they’re really only using Instagram and Snapchat these days.
They even said about Facebook, “Well, my mom has a Facebook page.”
I love my Facebook page kiddos – don’t diss.
So in an attempt at some social media botox I downloaded Snapchat.
Boy was I confused.
There’s really no traditional home page, people select the people they specifically want to share their photos with and there’s no like/love/star button!
After a week or so on the really totally hip platform – here’s my two sense for those of you who are scratching your heads about why in the world anyone would want to use something that deletes your photos and videos.
Let’s start with the Pros:
Okay, I’m a nerd for Snapchat filters. The app allows you to take a selfie of yourself with everything from dog ears (you can see my adorable puppy son barking with that filter here) to tears running down your face. It also has the face swap that will switch your face for one of your friends. Snapchat changes the filters everyday!
My kids love these too.
Word of warning though, which may actually belong in the cons list – some of the filters are pretty scary. Without knowing that, I scrolled through the filters with my 4-year-old. When we got to a screaming demonic face, he lost it.
He screamed for the next 20 minutes. He slept in our bed that night and every night since.
2. Easier to Send Pictures and Videos to Husband and Family
My absolute favorite thing about this is how easy it is to send photos and videos to my husband, siblings and my kids’ grandparents.
For the Snap layman, after you take a video or photo you specifically select who you want to send it to – similar to texting. It’s different than a group text because your child’s grandparents won’t be stuck in a group message involving family from both sides.
It’s different than Facebook because there you put out your status for everyone to see. A specific family member won’t necessarily see it because it doesn’t go directly to them.
I have also loved sending my husband pointless messages throughout the day. Typically our conversations on a work day involve a phone conversation on my way home from work, a handful of texts and 20 minutes at night. This gives us the chance to talk all day, while seeing each other.
3. There’s Not a Constant Need for Approval
On Snapchat there’s not a like, love, favorite or anything button. At first I was taken off guard by this. At first I thought, well how do I know if they like the video?
Especially for the young people who are using this the most – I think this is great. Our kids are living in this over-approval world. They’re getting likes on nearly all of the social media platforms. I think it’s good for teenagers to not get constant approval. This is perfect for that.
4. My final pro comes in the form of a question I’ve received from my fellow 30 year olds – “Why not just take a video on your phone and send it via message?”
In a nutshell, it’s fewer steps.
- It’s Fast When we were driving through an outdoor safari and seeing several different animals, I was able to quickly snap a video, press my husband’s name – and within moments he was looking at the video back at work.
If I would have tried to text it, I would have had to take the video, go to a share menu and text it to him. So it would have taken maybe an extra minute or two. When you’re sending several videos like I did – those minutes add up.
I was able to spend more time enjoying my kids, while letting my husband peer in on the moments he was (not) missing (thanks to snapchat).
- Space is Money With smartphone video it will save on your phone. If you’re telling your husband you just found peanut free chocolate cups, you probably don’t need that saved for all eternity. And let’s admit it – our smartphones are always full. Don’t waste the space.
Plus, there have been a handful of times where my smartphone was full. Instead I snapped it and was able to download it later (but that has to happen in 24 hours if you put it on “my story”).
Of course, there are cons too.
Here they are:
1. It’s Very Secretive
Even if you’re not using it in a secretive way, it seems like an awfully easy way to get yourself into trouble.
You’ve probably heard that after you take a video or photo it self-destructs after the second viewing. Even if you add it to “my story,” which is similar to a Facebook feed, it will disappear in 24 hours.
This seems like a great way to cheat, sext and bully.
If I’m being honest, I wouldn’t want my (someday) teenagers to be on the app for that reason alone. They take a photo doing who-knows-what and the evidence is gone in a moment. Although, you could make an argument that they’re doing those things when you’re not around anyway. But as my husband says to that, “that doesn’t mean you need to give them a tool to make it easier.”
With the “my story” part of the app, you’ll get an idea of how your child spends their day. But again, that’s completely voluntary. A user actually has to click on the box that says “My story” to post it as if it’s a Facebook feed.
2. You’re Communicating More Online Than With Those In Front of You
If you’re the harmless kind of snapper like me, you’re messaging a photo of your yummy dinner. Of course, I sent that out to my other cooking friends while my husband was in the kitchen telling me … something … I wasn’t listening. I was sharing dinner with my stylist.
3. This con comes in the form of a question one friend asked. “Why use something that destroys your pictures and videos after taking them. Don’t you want to keep them?”
This was one of my biggest questions before starting.
One of the coolest things about the app is that you can save the pictures/videos you take by just pressing the download button.
Does this belong in the pro list?
Not quite. Here’s why – there are a couple hitches. You have to remember to press that button or it will be gone.
Second, most snaps are taken vertically and the best video quality for home videos is horizontal.
4. It Feels Awkward to Send Messages to Specific People
The weirdest thing about Snapchat is that you select specific people you want to send messages to. In the pros list I put this as a positive because you can easily select your family members or best friends.
However, when you’re sending pictures and videos to specific friends or co-workers – it feels a little weirder. They know you specifically chose them to receive the picture of you with cat ears.
Do they think you’re weird?
Well, you don’t know because there’s no like button.
So will I keep it on my phone?
The jury’s still out. I need another few weeks.
Would I recommend other parents download it?
Yes, at least for a couple weeks – especially if your teenager is on it. Then you can at least understand what they’re taking part in.