So, I deleted Snapchat.
But before you criticize, let me explain.
Whenever I was bored, I found myself mindlessly watching my friends' Snapchat stories. Or worse, updating my own: you know, to let everyone else know how bored I was.
How sad is that?
Rather than taking advantage of the present moment, I was peeking into other people's moments- and most of the time- it just made me feel left out.
So, what did I do?
I deleted it.
Now, there are some things I miss about Snapchat, the face-swap filter especially. I can’t remember how many times I rolled on the floor laughing, my roommate’s face on mine and vice versa. Or how many times I said something, only to use the stupid reverse-video filter. It’s almost impossible to scroll through my camera roll and not see any form of Snapchat, whether it be a screenshot or hectic video.
At the end of the day, Snapchat is a crazy fun and hilarious app.
But it’s also dangerous.
Now, I’m not talking about sexting or anything like that. I’m talking about Snapchat’s hindrance on our ability to live in the present.
Here’s an example:
Yesterday was my older brother’s college graduation; he double-majored in accounting and finance at the University of Pittsburgh. While the ceremony was beautiful, none of the graduates were paying attention! With each new speaker that took the podium, ten more graduates looked down at their phone. And by the end of the graduation, only one-third of the students was even looking up.
Then we got to dinner. As my brother swiped through Snapchat stories, I saw the same videos time after time again: the students walking into graduation, them at graduation, and then the students leaving graduation.
A study published in Psychological Science discovered a phenomenon and coined it "photo-taking impairment effect."
'When people rely on technology to remember for them — counting on the camera to record the event and thus not needing to attend to it fully themselves — it can have a negative impact on how well they remember their experiences.'
Essentially, the study reveals that if you want to remember something to the best of your ability, don't take a photo of it. This is because to remember something requires interacting with that something in the first place.
Recording each and every moment of your college graduation on Snapchat stops you from interacting with those moments yourself. While you may think taking a Snapchat constitutes 'seizing the moment,' in reality -- it isn't. In fact, that Snapchat you take may last longer than the memory itself.
Now I am not bashing people who you use Snapchat or my brother's classmates for that matter. However, what I am doing is presenting an alternative: put your phone (and Snapchat) away during life's most precious moments-- the one's you want to remember forever.
Don't Snapchat your graduation.
Don't Snapchat the birth of your child.
Don't Snapchat the wedding, funeral or emergency room.
Instead, close the app and put your phone away. Realize the snaps that last the longest are the ones you take with your eyes -- not a lens.