Why Snapchat Is Your Enemy

If you still don’t know what Snapchat is by now, there is probably no hope for you. Snapchat is an app available on phones and tablets (Android and iOS) that allows you to send pictures and short videos that will ‘self-destruct’ after a set number of seconds. In addition, you can also add captions and draw on the snap you have taken, meaning you can get as creative as you want with it. Unsurprisingly, Snapchat’s key demographic is young people, or ‘youths’ as I like to call them (I’m actually about 80 years old) and if you show me someone between the age of 14 and 24 who doesn’t have it, I will be genuinely surprised. Then I’ll call them lame because Snapchat is fucking awesome. Misleading title, eh?

The prevailing reason for why I am such a Snapchat lover is pretty simple; I just really enjoy making weird faces. If there’s anything you’ll come away with from spending a few hours with me, it’s these two little things: I make a lot of faces and I make a lot of noises. As they are generally weird and unattractive, I’d rather not have concrete evidence of them in the forms of pictures and voice notes for people to mock me with – I have already provided them with an abundance of ammunition. So, enter Snapchat – the perfect medium to allow me to express myself whenever and where ever I want. Just last night I sent out a little video of me singing the Oreo chant from Wreck-It Ralph, because, why not? I won’t lie, it wasn’t well received, but, whatever, my friends are lame.

I know what you’re thinking. Awesome, right?

Of course, you always run the risk of someone taking a screenshot of whatever you have sent them, but, as you can see, I tend to keep it pretty PG so have nothing to worry about. Snapchat, or ‘Snatchchat’ as the cool kids call it, quickly took off as the ‘safe’ way to send dirty pictures. But, as we all know, due to that pesky screenshot function, there’s a solid chance your half naked selfie will end up on a poorly named Facebook page. Being the respectable and graceful young woman that I am, I don’t send dirty Snapchats. Whether this is because my mama taught me better than that, or because I’d rather not scare boys away with my abundance of jiggle straight off the bat, we’ll never know. If it’s something you’re into, though, good for you. Just don’t send me a picture of your dick. I don’t want that.

So, obvious screenshot issues aside, why is Snapchat your enemy? Why would I even suggest such a notion when I’m clearly all over it like Pooh Bear on a jar of honey? Could I have used a more innocent simile? Do you believe that I just Googled simile to make sure I had the right word? So. Many. Questions.

#1  Snapchat makes you forget that there are boundaries you shouldn’t cross. It makes you feel like you’re Bradley Cooper in that movie where he keeps popping pills. It makes you feel like the answer to everything is the same as the answer to the last question in the Mathlete competition in Mean Girls. But I have news for you; you are not limitless. The limit does exist. Just because you sent a picture of your balls for two seconds and then it disappeared, it doesn’t make it okay. Just because you sent a picture of you in your bra to a boy you know has a girlfriend, but then it disappeared, it doesn’t mean you’re not a homewrecker.

#2  You can’t see what you’ve sent once you’ve sent it. For the casual alcoholics amongst us, this is a real issue. I can’t tell you how many Snapchats I’ve drunkenly sent, which means I can’t tell you what they’re of or what they say. It’s entirely likely I have sent a couple of dirty ones, because, let’s be honest, I’m neither respectable nor graceful, but I genuinely have no idea whether I have or not. It’s pretty clear what the problem with this is; just because you were drunk and woke up having forgotten that you sent anything inappropriate, it’s more than likely that the recipient of said Snapchat wasn’t and didn’t. Subsequently, this can go one of two ways; it’ll have either piqued their interest and you may get laid out of it, or they’ll feel embarrassed for you and your relationship will never be the same again. But you were drunk, right? So it didn’t count? And it disappeared? So it’s like it never happened? NO. You dumb slut.

#3  Snapchat is not a loophole. Again, no more of this ‘it disappeared so it doesn’t count‘ malarkey. I won’t lie, I’m more guilty than Oscar Pistorious when it comes to this. I know it’s easy to think that a Snapchat conversation is harmless and you’re not actually engaging with someone you shouldn’t be, but you’re wrong. It 100% counts and you 100% won’t feel good about it. Cutting a person out of your life means cutting them off on Snapchat, too. Dramatic, but true.

#4  Snapchat Bestfriends. One of Snapchat’s fun little features is that it shows who your three ‘best friends’ are, ie, the three people you Snapchat the most. As my real life best friend found out recently, people (especially girls) actually look at who these best friends are. The girl that he is currently seeing looked at his Snapchat best friends, saw that she was one of them, and asked who the other two girls were. One is a girl he slept with whilst seeing her, and the other is his ex-girlfriend of a bajillion years that he never stops talking about and is still in love with. Awkward. Although I don’t have a problem with this feature, I don’t at all understand it. Whatsapp doesn’t inform all your contacts who you talk to the most, why does Snapchat? Bizarre.

Are you a Snapchat lover or hater? Have you had any mishaps with the app?

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Ryan Gosling and Twerking! Literally, you won’t BELIEVE it!

clickbait: an eye-catching link on a website which encourages people to read on

If you scroll down your reader, or feed for any social media platform for that matter, you will no doubt be inundated with catchy, hyperbolic, and inflammatory headlines. They will probably catch your eye, and you will probably click on them. You know the ones I’m talking about –

That BuzzFeed list, The 50 Absolute Sexiest Things Ryan Gosling Did In 2013.

That Thought Catalog article, I Look Down On Young Women With Husbands And Kids And I’m Not Sorry.

That YouTube video, Worst Twerk Fail EVER – Girl Catches Fire!

You get the idea, right? Those headlines that are just gagging for you to click on them? Yep, those ones. Isn’t that what headlines should be, though? Catchy things that grab your attention and make you want to read on? When we live in an environment where media outlets are saturated with content, and readers have essentially become magpies, aren’t shiny headlines more crucial than ever? Is it necessarily clickbaitification? Is it not just clever titling?

Sure, ’50 Ryan Gosling pictures’ would be an accurate title, but it’s definitely not as attention grabbing as the one that BuzzFeed went for. That may be a bad example as I am liable to click on anything that mentions Ryan Gosling, regardless of the rest of the headline, but you get what I’m saying. It may also be a bad example because it’s a BuzzFeed list. Now, don’t get me wrong, I fucking love BuzzFeed. I literally – and I mean literally – spent tens of hours on it during the process of writing my thesis; any list that had anything to do with Mindy Kaling was infinitely more interesting than trying to weave core theory into my largely fieldwork heavy anecdotal dissertation. BuzzFeed is a procrastination goldmine; it is busting with entertaining content that keeps your focus for two minutes before you find the next clickable headline. That’s pretty much the extent of it, though.

So, does where content is found play a role in determining whether or not we classify it as clickbait? If ‘I Look Down On Young Women…‘ was posted on The Guardian’s website as opposed to on Thought Catalog, would we take it more seriously? Would it be seen as a provocative way to generate discussion as opposed to a misguided way to drum up page views? Are we really judging blog posts by their curatorial umbrellas? When I go to a site like Thought Catalog or Elite Daily, I know exactly what to expect. I’m on those sites because I want topical, relatable and entertaining articles that pertain to my life as a ‘millennial’ (Jesus, I fucking hate that word). I’m not surfing The Debrief because I’m looking for bloody Pulitzer worthy writing; I just want a three minute distraction whilst the next episode of Pretty Little Liars loads.

This brings us to my next question – is it the quality of the content itself which dictates whether or not it will be seen as clickbait? Like I said, I don’t expect to be blown away by the quality of writing on these curation sites; as long as they’re coherent and don’t feature any truly appalling grammar, I’m not that fussed. The posts are predominantly there for entertainment value, not because they’re really going to affect your life in any sort of deep and meaningful way. Occasionally, you may find a gem of a piece that really makes you think, but, let’s face it, it’s pretty rare. You’re not going to find the next Khaled Hosseini writing meme fillied listicles on BuzzFeed.

Believe it or not, submissions on these sites have to be approved before they are published. You’d think producers and editors would set a higher standard of quality control, right? But, once someone’s clicked that catchy headline through to the article, they’ve got their page view – does the content even matter? Again, I don’t expect amazing content, but, thinking about it, isn’t that pretty shit? How disillusioned are we that we accept the content that is being consistently thrown at us? Why aren’t we demanding better? There are genuinely incredible writers out there who aren’t given the same platform or exposure as the sub-par list makers because our generation would rather look at ‘29 Cats That Have More Sex Appeal Than You‘ than read a beautiful piece of prose. Isn’t that sad?

Let’s be honest, whatever ‘clickbait’ is, we love it. We love those shitty articles and lists. We love that they are out there in abundance and we love that they relate to every possible aspect of our lives. It’s why we blog, isn’t it? To share our stories? To reach people and relate to them? I like to think my writing isn’t as barren as everything I’ve just slagged off, but maybe it is. Maybe someone needs to quality control me. Everyone deserves the right to express themselves, but are we so oversaturated with poor content that we’re starting to forget what good writing looks like?

‘I don’t know you won’t put me in a suitcase..’

Let’s be honest; the internet can be pretty fucking shady. You never know what’s really going on or who you’re really talking to. We’ve all seen Catfish; relative anonymity is a powerful tool. So, when it comes to internet dating, or meeting anyone from any kind of social media platform, really, you can never be too careful. I grew up in a fairly protective household, and although I thought my parents overdid it, their weariness of strangers has definitely rubbed off on me. You don’t know who’s sitting behind the keyboard; everyone is a potential rapist or murderer.

Save for when I was 15 and would talk to strangers over MSN and MySpace, I had no real experience in talking to people I didn’t know until my friends and I all got ourselves on Tinder last summer. My initial impressions weren’t great, as the first message I received was:

You look like you’re a naughty girl.

Needless to say, he was promptly blocked. Slightly more wary, I continued to sift through the abundance of unappealing boys with no chat until I came across one who was basically my twin. We got along like a house on fire, and ended up talking consistently for days. After a few days, he started to mention that we should meet up, which, of course, scared me shitless. I’d already sort of eliminated the Catfish worry, as we’d obviously already exchanged Snapchats by then, and I had indeed confirmed that he was the same boy in his pictures. To be honest, though, as Tinder profiles are connected to Facebook profiles, I’m not overly worried about someone not physically being the same person. Sure, he may be the brown haired boy in the suit, but so was Patrick Bateman.

YOU WOULD NEVER KNOW

After endless excuses, I finally admitted that I was just plain ol’ scared – that I didn’t know he wouldn’t put me in a suitcase. He thought I was being irrational, I was as serious as I’d ever been. That week, a girl in her mid-twenties had been found in a suitcase near where I live, and her murderer has only just been found guilty. Stories like this, sadly, come around far too often – you really never can be too careful. Before you start, I obviously don’t mean to trivialise what happened to this poor girl. It’s just that sometimes you can’t just say, ‘sorry, I’m scared you’ll rape and murder me’. Like I said, the internet is pretty fucking shady, and you can never be too careful. So, without further ado, here are some of the results of the ‘suitcase line’..

W – The first time I threw this worry out there, the first time I ever met anyone off of the internet, was with W. When I first met him at a pub around the corner from the library, he whatsapped me saying, ‘I’ll be the one with the suitcase’ – I laughed, but it didn’t put me at ease. Two days later, when I ended up in his bedroom, he pointed out everything that he would be able to fit me in if he chopped me up. I felt at ease when it dawned on me that boys may also have reservations when it comes to going home with strangers – as we were falling asleep he mumbled, ‘don’t steal my shit while I’m sleeping’. Classic.

J – Click the link for some context on this kid; it’ll help infinite amounts. To summarise, though, J was essentially a massive toff and, unsurprisingly, was not amused by my suitcase fears. Obviously he was just boring. When he met me at the station and we started walking towards the pub, he said that he had considered picking me up in his car because it was raining. He then went on to explain that he didn’t because he knew I wouldn’t be cool with getting into a stranger’s car, especially as his car has tinted windows and looks a little bit rapey. As he saw my brow start to furrow, he quickly let out a nervous, ‘and there’s a suitcase in the back’. My mouth literally dropped. I decided he was kidding. So, after a brief return to his house for more drinks and ‘privacy’, I let him give me a lift back to the station. I tentatively opened the front passenger side door to the rape car and peered around the front seat. Lo and behold, there it was – a big arse suitcase. I got in the car regardless as I figured that if he was going to murder me, he would have done it already. I ignore his messages now.

P – This kid was undoubtedly the cutest. He had a youngish face and seemed really sweet, which obviously meant I needed to be extra careful. He laughed off the suitcase line with an, ‘I only have a duffel’ and I was hooked. He added me on Facebook to put me at ease and off I went to meet him for sex drinks. Drinks went swimmingly – he was boyishly charming and I was endearingly awkward – so we moved the party back to his. He had told me that night that he was in the process of moving house, so I expected to walk into a mess of a flat. However, what I found myself in was far, far worse. The place was barren. BARREN. There was literally nothing there but the furniture that came with the place. The fridge was unplugged. There were no toiletries in the bathroom. THERE WERE NO SHEETS ON THE BED. I knew it; he was going to murder me. This was the most suitcasey situation, ever. I questioned him endlessly. Was this even his flat?! Eventually he threw me on the bed and had his way with me. His innocent little face was a lie. He fucked like Christian Bale in American Psycho (minus the mirror). I stopped waiting for a suitcase and started anticipating a fucking chainsaw. As you can see, though, I survived to tell the tale.

There have been other miscellaneous responses – I get a lot of, ‘could you fit in a suitcase?’ Sorry, are you implying that I’m huge? Some boys play along, some boys think it’s insensitive – so it’s also kind of a way to gauge how fucking dull they are, too. Essentially, though, my point is that you should always be safe. Always meet in public places and always let someone know where you are. Don’t let anyone put you in a situation where you feel uncomfortable or at risk. They WILL try to do this; I am genuinely shocked by the amount of boys that think I will just turn up on their doorstep without having properly vetted them first. Men are morons.