They say a picture is worth 1,000 words, but with Snapchat, a picture is worth 10 seconds.
Snapchat, a smartphone app created by four Stanford students in 2011, allows users to send photos to their friends for up to 10 seconds, at which time the photo disappears.
Over the last few months, Snapchat has seen increasing popularity nationwide, including holding a spot in the top 10 free apps downloaded from the app store, and Augustana students have jumped right on board with this trend.
“You can always tell when someone’s [using Snapchat] because you’ll look over and someone will be making a funny face,” freshman Beth Schleusener said.
Schleusener, along with many other students, uses Snapchat primarily as a way to send funny photos to friends without worrying that they’ll be forever preserved on Facebook or other social media.
According to the Snapchat website, the company philosophy centers on the idea of “sharing authentic moments with friends.” It’s all about communicating, entertaining and simulating face-to-face conversation in the sense that the pictures cannot be saved.
“I use Snapchat much in the same way that I use text messaging,” sophomore Betsy McCue said. “I use it to communicate a message, emotion or just to make someone smile with a funny face.”
As more and more students start to use Snapchat, an unwritten code of “snap” ethic has emerged regarding screenshots of Snapchats. Although photos sent via Snapchat cannot be saved, if a person is quick enough, they could take a screenshot of the image on their phone.
However, saving a screenshot of a Snapchat violates the Snapchat ethic according to junior Patrick Brende. If a person takes a screenshot of a Snapchat, the person who sent the picture is notified.
“It is also expected that you won’t send a 10-second ‘pretty selfie’ of yourself,” McCue said. “That’s just plain annoying.”
Sending Snapchats in public has been frowned upon, depending on the situation.
“It’s not exactly appropriate for a class setting or a work setting, but if you’re just sitting in the commons; why not?” Schleusener said.
Although many Augustana students are using Snapchat, some like sophomore Ryan Turnquist, have been more reluctant to embrace the new app.
“I was pretty against it for awhile because I just didn’t see the appeal of it,” he said. “I finally broke down a couple weeks ago and got it. Used in moderation, it’s actually pretty fun.”
In some respects, Snapchat has changed the way students communicate by allowing for an exchange of facial expressions in addition to the standard communication via text message, but mostly it has just been used to capture a funny face and send it to friends
“It’s just fun and goofy,” Schleusener said. “If there is some Snapchat database somewhere, it’s just going to have pictures of people with, like, five chins.”