My Irrational Hatred of Snapchat

I irrationally hate two things: Snapchat and home ownership.

To speak briefly on the latter: When I thought I was getting divorced, one of the ONLY benefits I could see was that I might never have to own another home in my life. I think it is the Great American Lie. The level this rant can extend to almost knows no bounds.

But this is not about that.

I have been a therapist for ten years and have worked primarily with people ages 14-25 in this time period. When I started, the problem was Facebook (although I actually think I even had a couple of MySpace-related sessions…). Facebook owned the world of client drama for about eight years. I really assumed nothing would ever top it. (Amazingly, Twitter never really got into the action. I guess it was hard to create drama in 140 characters or less? I’m not sure.)

Then Snapchat showed up.

For a very long time, I have declared to many people that “Snapchat is the line” between our generation and the generation behind us (even if I am a person without a real generation). I had a lot of friends who were 5 or 6 years younger than me and they all used Snapchat so I downloaded it to join in. They loved it. I was usually more annoyed by it than not. I’d get an alert I had a new one and dismiss the notification and then, like, four days later, I’d remember to look at it.

I never participated because I didn’t understand “the point” which of course is stupid as there is no point. It is an app presumably designed almost entirely for nude pictures because the snaps (supposedly) go away once you’ve opened them. That was the real draw, I think. The disappearance of all things seemed to speak to that particular group of people in a way I don’t understand because they are always accused of wanting to “document” their entire lives, but it’s not documenting if there is, y’know, no documentation after looking at a picture with a timer set for five seconds.

Everything disappears unless you screenshot it. And if you screenshot it, the person who sent it gets a notification that you did so which then leads to people coming to counseling because now their significant other (or, more likely, an ex) has a salacious pic on their phone. Few things have ever made me feel older than when I had to start regularly having conversations about the dangers of naked picture exchanges.

You can also tell WHEN people open a snap so people began knowing exactly how long someone had ignored them. This led to incredible panic and intense fights between friends or couples or cousins or whothehellknows. I always looked at them confused and asked, “Is it possible they got busy with something else?” They always looked at me like I was insane. One asked me once, “What else would they have to do?” And that’s when I realized I was dealing with an animal that was going to be problematic.

Essentially, I came to realize that Snapchat is a medium for people who don’t like words, don’t like permanence, and LOVE taking selfies (cuz there are millions of filters to add. As The Millennial once said to me, “Do you realize someone might have a job making these filters? And what do we do?” She had a point.). It’s also a great medium if you want to reduce a relationship to basically nothing important… a collection of 7-second videos of your girlfriend being stuck at a train or the one disastrous photo I took while balancing a basketball on my head for absolutely no reason.

If aliens landed and the first thing they found is the server that stored all of these snaps that everyone thinks disappear, they would think we as a species could only take dick/boob pics and say “OMG” to pretty much everything imaginable. Then they would take over the world and no one would be able to stop them because we can’t fight an intergalactic war with selfies no matter how cute we think we are.

These are all thoughts I expressed long before dating The Millennial. When we met, I had sent/received 536 snaps; she had sent/received over 90,000. (This floored me. Then one night when we were out at a restaurant, she made the argument that 90,000 wasn’t “that much” and that she could find someone with more. Sure, I said. Try. So our waitress came over and I asked how old she was; she was 4 years younger than The Millennial. We asked for her number and she quickly pulled her phone out of her pocket. 208,000. TWO HUNDRED EIGHT THOUSAND.)

It was educational on, like, 18 levels.

It really helped me in my work with clients. Now, when I ask if someone has “talked to” someone about something, I have to clarify that I do not mean over Snapchat. When I have a 45-minute session about whether or not it is a good idea to block someone, I understand that it really is an important decision. When someone tells me that someone insulted them by saying their bitmoji was ugly, that really could be offensive. When someone tells me their boyfriend broke up with them because they let their snap streak end, I should not blink blankly but rather express empathy for their plight.

Yes, I am jealous because I am terrible at selfies. Every selfie I have is me smiling while my eyes are saying, “I have no idea what I’m doing.” Or I twist my mouth to the side in an awkward, “Is this cute? Or funny? Or asinine? What am I doing?” pose. I have about a 2% chance of communicating accurately if I’m not allowed to use as many words as I need. Snapchat was simply not created for me. I can acknowledge that.

The reason I irrationally hate it to the degree I do is because of the Snap Map.

The Snap Map is the single dumbest feature of any social media app in history. I have tried really hard to understand how it could be useful, but I have only ever seen it and heard it used for something that ends up in a fight or ends up with someone feeling left out or ends up with people getting arrested for showing up places they shouldn’t be. I once had a client whose significant other let them know it was over by snapping, “Just look at where I am.”

Also: Ghost Mode or no… Stalking people doesn’t need to be so easy. It just doesn’t.

So yes. I irrationally hate Snapchat because of how much I’ve had to talk about it or worry about it since its invention. I cheer when Rihanna and Chrissy Teigen quit the medium and their stock crashes by $1 billion. I click on every article that talks about its difficulties or how much everyone hates the latest update.

I apologize to everyone who uses it to laugh with their friends and have never ever once experienced ANY drama due to its existence. I’m not sure who that actually is, but I suppose it is conceivable that such a person exists. I’m glad it works for you. Kudos.

I deleted my account in October (total number of snaps at 1256) and Snapchat holds onto it for 30 days. And they emailed me every five days asking if I wanted to come back. They emailed with subject lines like, “You still have time to reactivate your account!” and I yelled back at my email, “Stop threatening me!”

When I finally got notice it was gone, I exhaled.

And when it finally dies, I guess I will have to learn all about Instagram and how everybody has three accounts: One for everyone, one for only some, and one for dirty pictures. Awesome.

Or I could switch to geriatric counseling. Whatever comes first.

Disclaimer: I don’t know how accurate any of these Snapchat features are at this point. I can only go off what I hear and what I experienced, but that was, like, six months ago so my apologies if instead of screenshots, now a person just has to blink three times at the picture to save it or something. My bad.

Disclaimer 2: I was looking for a photo for this and every Snapchat image search I came up with included pictures of dead bodies at wakes with filters on their faces. So. Yeah. I feel vindicated. Also: No picture for this post and now I want to move to Mars.

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