Many people still assume that Snapchat‘s sole purpose is to send risque photos, and its known popularity with tweens doesn’t give it the best reputation among anyone older than 21. Add in a few security issues and a recent bout of leaked photos, it’s no surprise that many would rather not use the popular ephemeral messaging app. But there are people, myself included, who despite being well past the tween age bracket, actually enjoy using Snapchat. Here, me and fellow Softonic Editor Baptiste weigh in on why we do and don’t like using Snapchat.
Baptiste: It’s not very practical
My reasons for not being Snapchat’s biggest fan are a bit more practical. Personally, I don’t understand all the fuss: is it an actual communication app or just a novelty service? Don’t get me wrong, I don’t dislike Snapchat– its video chat system is actually pretty innovative and can be fun to use – but I do have a few issues with it.
First of all, I’m not able to find all my friends on Snapchat. Even when I think they’re using it, I’m not sure if it’s really them. I added a friend by searching for her name and finding her through her username. A couple of days later, I found out that it was the wrong person with the same name. I sent pictures of myself to someone I didn’t even know! In the end though, I wasn’t too surprised: you have no profile pic or account description, which I actually find quite annoying about the service.
I’m also not a huge fan of Snapchat because alerts don’t seem useful. When I get a notification on my iPhone, I don’t know if it’s a snap for me, or a Snapchat Story that’s being shared with me and 100 other Snapchat users.
I admit that some of Snapchat’s features are quite good. I’d really like to be able to contribute to the Our Story feature. I imagine being at a festival and adding my geolocal snaps to Our Story with a bunch of other users. It’s like a shared folder that “disappears” when everybody is gone, although I’m pretty skeptical about the whole “disappearing” thing. It reminds me of Twitter hashtags and trending topics, which I think is pretty cool.
I’d open Snapchat for a specific occasion, like if I’m at a concert or a conference and want to know more by using Our Story, but I won’t use Snapchat to communicate with friends anymore. If I want to see funny stuff, I’d rather go to 9Gag.
Suzie: It’s actually pretty funny
I may not be as active on Snapchat as the tween population, but given the fact that I ‘m 27 years old and have friends using the service means I’m not alone.
Having said that, I don’t have a ton of friends using Snapchat, but the ones that do seem to do so in clever ways that make getting snaps pretty hilarious. I have one friend who on an almost daily basis sends hilarious pictures of videos of things as monotonous as driving to work, adding commentary that makes its really fun to watch. It’s this ability to emphasize something, either by drawing on a photo or adding video commentary, that for me, makes Snapchat a fun and easy way to communicate.
What I probably like most about Snapchat is that there’s no need for a response. Despite an admittedly voyeuristic use, friends continue to send me snaps even though I rarely respond (both because of time constraints, and because of the fact that I know I’m not as clever). I’m well aware that these videos and images aren’t being sent only to me, but I think that’s also part of the reason why a response isn’t essential. It can actually be more of a curated public forum than say, Facebook, because you’re only sending things to the people you want to see it. This is also true about Snapchat Stories and the ‘Our Story’ feature that Baptiste likes so much.
In this vein, I also find it easier to share snaps with multiple people than to send a group text, for example; take a picture, tap a few names, and everyone knows what you’re doing.
Surprisingly (or not), one of Snapchat’s biggest sells – its ability to send ephemeral messages – is for me, more of a convenience than anything else. I’d probably get annoyed with all the photos and videos clogging up my phone, but the fact that the photos disappear isn’t the reason I use it. They could just as easily be stored somewhere, especially the really funny ones, and I’d still use it (although I’m not sure if all my friends would in the same way).
I guess Snapchat also seems a bit more real time than updates on Facebook or Instagram, because you can’t save a Snapchat photo or video mid-process to send later: it’s now or never. It’s a quick update, where in an instant, I know what my friends are doing.
I wouldn’t call Snapchat my preferred or even default messaging service, but I think as a novelty, it still deserves an important spot among my collection of messaging apps.
What do you think of Snapchat?
This article written in collaboration with Softonic FR Editor Baptiste Brassart.