Like many others in this class and in our generation, I am an avid user and fan of the Snapchat app. It’s a fun way to send pictures and short videos back and forth to friends without waiting for large files to transfer, and you can set a time limit no longer than 10 seconds for your friends to view your photos. This creates an illusion of privacy, because the photo can only be seen by the intended receiver (unless they have someone right beside them) and they cannot retrieve it later to view again or show someone else. If they screenshot your image, you get a notification, so you know when they’ve intentionally kept the photo you sent them.
The aspect of sexuality that this article mentions is very interesting as well. He explains that Snapchat was made as a safer way to sext. Obviously, it can be argued that there is no way to make sexting safe, because it involves mediating a sexual relationship through technology, which is never truly private. Like Berlant discusses, intimacy has a public aspect because what we consider public and private are closely connected and subjective.
The app surely has an impact on real-life relationships, both positively and negatively. Here is just one example of each:
- Negative: Snapchat gives users the ability to view people’s “Best Friends”, letting you know who is sending Snaps back and forth most often. Imagine how easy would be for a lovers’ quarrel to start over the fact that one partner has an ex or a “friend” as their #1 Best Friend instead of their current significant other. All made worse by the fact that the images disappear, so there is no way to prove what kind of content was being sent.
- Positive: On the other hand, being able to see someone’s face (Snapchat selfies), or what they are doing, regularly through images could be great for a long-distance relationship, especially if country borders and cellular fees prevent traditional texting or calling.
The author of the article stresses that there is no such thing as privacy, anonymity, or impermanency in digital media, only the perception of these things. This is made even more interesting by what was posted below by Cassandra R: the fact that Snapchat was hacked recently, exposing access to millions of user accounts. This article was posted before that scandal occurred, and even after some of our fears were challenged, not a single one of my friends disabled their Snapchat account (and, admittedly, neither did I).
After reading this article, which makes several valid points, are you persuaded to delete your account?