SnapChat, for those who have been living in a cave for the past 12 months will discover, is an app that allows people to take pictures of themselves and send them to others. Big deal, some might say; you can do that on pretty much any electronic device that has a camera. However, the beauty of SnapChat lies in the fact that picture cannot be stored and after 10 seconds. Poof! The picture will be gone forever, never to see the light of day again.
It also adds itself to the harem of free social media available to the technologically savvy children of 21st century. Social media started its humble beginnings in the form of MSN Messenger. Ah the days of rushing home after school, logging onto your Hotmail account to see if **babeez500** was online, even though you’d said goodbye to them 5 minutes ago at the bus stop. We then had the social revolution of dear old Tom and his MySpace. Not only could you talk to all your lovely little friends but also you could add the coolest song of the day, complete with snazzy wallpaper and last weekend’s photos of downing Labrini whilst sitting on a wall by the South Bank, as the police chased you away.
Last and by know means least, we have Mark Walberg and his phenomenon Facebook. Now the shit had really hit the fan. Now you could discover everything you ever really wanted to know about another human being in the form of a single web page. You could know where they were last weekend, what they wore, what they drank, who they were with, who they’re going out with, what school they went to, the job they have, add them, message them, tag them and even delete them if you really wanted to make a statement of dislike. We can even see if they’ve seen a message that we’ve sent them and fume with rage if they haven’t had the decency to respond.
That’s the point though isn’t it. Social media, particularly those that focus on photos, updates and messages, somehow invalidate our own personal space and intrude upon our private lives. To some degree, it’s even a performance. We all know that person who has 400,000 pictures of themselves and 5000 friends. In turn, it makes us feel insecure and essentially a massive loser for not being such a social butterfly who has 100 comments on each picture telling us how beautiful we really are.
On the surface of it, social media is great. You can keep in contact with people, you may have otherwise forgotten about. You can look at photos of a good night out that otherwise you might not have had access to. However lurking behind this façade of sociability, fun and laughter is a social legacy that can intrude into our personal lives, meaning that the lines between your physical self and your online self start to become slightly blurred.