Every Snapchat User’s Worst Nightmare

Introducing Snapchat, and its friendly ghost icon.

Introducing Snapchat, and its friendly ghost icon. Via Forbes (article linked)

Snapchat, for those who have never heard of it before, is an app which boasts that it can share images directly between users for up to 10 seconds. Initially, it was stated that after these 10 seconds or less, pictures were “obliterated”, or shredded pixel from pixel to never be seen again.

Sounds harmless enough right?

The app, whose interface is clean, simple, and bright and inviting, has taken on a darker purpose among some. Some users use the app to send goofy faces to their friends, record short clips from concerts, or snap vanishing images of the mundane. Others however, use the app’s promise of “shredded evidence” to send more explicit content.

Yes, just like ‘sexting’. Exactly as bad as it sounds.

While the app does have safeguards against users that attempt to take screenshots of pictures, it would appear that the veil of safety had been lifted as a new generation of “hack” apps have emerged to lower the privacy of these “snaps”. In the ‘early days’ of the app, an alert would go off when iOS users cleverly tried to screenshot images, notifying the sender that their picture was no longer ‘transient’ and was permanently saved. However apps like SnapCapture,  SnapSave, and various others now enable users to capture pictures without alerting the image or video.

Brace yourselves, snapleaks are a thing now.

The result? That silly picture of you and your friend doodling cat ears on each other might surprise (but not horrify) you when its posted to Facebook. Or in worse cases, that ‘sexy’ picture meant for your then-boyfriend might be your now ex-boyfriends next submissions to snapchat pics on reddit. YIKES.

No matter what you snap, make sure you’re ok with the rest of the internet seeing it too, because chances are, they will.
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A Word on Transparency and Professionalism

 

 

The word ‘transparency’ is thrown a lot in the social media world, a tantalizing buzzword meant to embrace authenticity, or put simply ‘realness’. In terms of brands, companies, and influential professionals, this means being accessible to others by what you share on your media platforms of choice. Put simply, transparency could be characterized as being truthful and genuine to the outside world, or appearing to have nothing to hide.

And transparency is a beautiful thing.

Until it isn’t.

In a 2013 report from Fox Business, it was estimated that Americans in particular spend approximately 16 minutes of every hour on a social media site (like Facebook, Twitter, etc.).  The more readily available social media has become, the faster we embrace it, spending more and more time sharing our lives with the outside world. And this is a great thing in principle, giving us an inside look into some of our favorite celebrities on their own terms separate from the invasive lens of the paparazzi. At a glance, social media enables even the most distant figures of our world accessibility like never before. For example, did you know you could tweet at the pope, the president, and Oprah with just the touch of a button?

There is a Downside

I’m not sure whether our ability to share has prompted us to share more, our defenses have been lowered by promises of confidentiality, or whether younger adopters of social media have less inhibitions, but transparency has shown a darker side to those we share the Internet with.  Where before, it was common for users to adopt a ‘if you wouldn’t want your mom to see it, don’t share it’ policy, many users now share images that could greatly negatively impact their future careers; drinking pictures from high school and/or college, explicit photos and video, and even viciously hateful remarks about others via Facebook, Twitter, and the newly adopted Snapchat apps.

About Snapchat…

You may or may not have heard of the app recently applauded as ‘the new instagram’, but if you are a parent, you probably should. The app’s primary function is to send and receive videos and photos, which self-destruct after 10 seconds. As you might imagine, like with the ‘confidentiality’ claims of Facebook, this isn’t entirely true; with the right smartphone, its possible to take a screenshot of a compromising image and publish it to another social media website, often with dire consequences.

Going Forward

If you choose to be transparent on social media, make sure you make smart decisions about what you post, where you post it, and what the implications might be. If you are seeking a job, or maintaining a professional presence, it may be wise to avoid posting compromising photos involving alcohol, illegal activities, or that portray you in a way that could be easily misconstrued. It’s also important to note that ‘protecting’ your tweets on Twitter, creating a ‘limited’ profile on Facebook, and even trusting in Snapchat’s ‘vanishing’ images will not prevent someone from finding images that could put you in a compromising position. The safest way to use social media is by always putting your best face forward and presenting content about yourself and others in the best light possible.

In fact, maybe even show your mom before you post it, because chances are she’ll eventually see it regardless of what privacy settings you have.

Hope this helps! 🙂

Sources:

http://www.foxbusiness.com/personal-finance/2013/04/26/social-media-addiction-study/

http://www.cnn.com/2013/01/03/tech/mobile/snapchat

http://gawker.com/5967303/snapchat-sluts-shows-why-snapchat-isnt-the-consequence+free-sexting-app-wed-all-hoped-for

Snapchat and Vine; The Basics

There has been a lot of discourse on social apps like Vine and Snapchat, and what they they mean for social media, social networking, and content sharing. Here’s the basics you need to know:

Both apps boast very engaging content opportunities; Snapchat allows for temporary snapshots in time without the consequence of suspect images or video resurfacing across the internet in unflattering ways (long story short, less ‘Weinergates“). Similarly, Vine allows for short video that is highly shareable, engaging, and allows for a high level of creativity. One succeeds because it is temporary, the other because it is a permanent moment encapsulated in short video.

Snapchat operates detached from social networks, and offers an addictive way to interact with others similar to conversations; a back and forth exchange which is unrecorded, and fleeting.

Vine operates currently as a content creator which can be shared on Twitters in place of (or to compliment) content.

Because they are so different in application, I think both have drastically different futures. With Snapchat, there is a shareable component in that snaps can be downloaded before being sent , allowing people to use them as they would a vine (but without the seamless integration). I feel that Snapchat has the potential to outlive the social networks in the sense that ‘compromising images’ can now be shared more fearlessly than before on this platform.

However I do not think Vine cannot function as a standalone. Unlike Instagram, which is available on both Android and iOS, and is inherently ‘more shareable’ Vine relies more heavily on being peppered across Twitter, but is only available for iOS. Now owned by Twitter, Vine does have the ability to be used to its highest potential, but if Twitter ever died out, so would Vine. As far as I know, vines cannot be shared on Facebook, but I doubt this capability would ever impact its success.

Questions? Email me 🙂