About five years ago, an app arrived on the market that allowed you to send your friends a picture that lasted for ten seconds. It was a strange idea; temporary messaging (in principle. Screenshotting bypasses this) in a world where everything is saved. Today, Snapchat is a global phenomenon, a giant in the social media scene. Celebrities frequent the app, and occasionally find themselves lost on sea on it. Its popularity is basically unrivaled.
With that popularity comes a great opportunity to make money. Snapchat has been smart with how they profit from their app. Sponsored snap stories, unique event-themed filters, and the Discover portion of the app, which allows other brands to post their own content, have all been implemented in a way that still allows the average user to send snaps to friends without any outside interference. This methodology is still being practiced today, but a change in the interface has made the experience a little annoying. The page in which you can browse your friend's stories also house the Discover stories. What used to only be on another page left unseen, the stories are front and center; a great addition for the brands, but for some readers, a real pain. The issue isn't that the Discover stories are on the page, but that some of the stories are just plain awful.
Right now, I'm looking through the stories, and mixed with the usual fare are some of the more ridiculous: stories on the best emojis, how to lose weight without trying, random celebrity gossip, how someone sold their underwear for thousands—the listgoes on and on. It feels like I'm walking by the tabloid section at the supermarket. Headlines full of clickbait nonsense getting in the way of what's really important: my friends' dog filter selfies. All joking aside, these stories from outlets we'd never give a second look to are a nuisance. They're annoying, take up space, and if people are really eating this stuff up it makes me wonder what we've gotten ourselves into.
Don't get me wrong; there are some perfectly fine stories up there. National Geographic recently posted one about the world's oldest fossils being discovered. There are plenty of reasonable sports news updates, and even some relatively normal entertainment news. But then you have stories from publications that report that aliens sabotaged a recent rocket launch or that if your boyfriend is happy, then he's cheating.
I know that what I'm complaining about is pretty petty. But hey, the internet was made for virtual soapboxing so hear me out. Snapchat, if you guys aren't getting paid large sums by these trash brands to flow their sewage through your app, it might be time to kick them out. You're no longer a small-time app about ten second pictures. You're a social media powerhouse. You've got to use that to your advantage to help journalism put its strongest foot forward, not just its laziest. And if not for the media, at least do it for me. Let me watch people swap faces in peace.