When it comes down to some of the more popular social media platforms in this day and age, odds are that Snapchat is at the top of your list. If you are unfamiliar with the photo-sharing application, Snapchat allows users to send pictures or videos to their friends as a form of communication, and it also contains a story feature in which users can post videos to their public page for all of their friends to see.
When the app came out, it was all the rage. I'd say most people who have a social media presence downloaded the app—myself included.
But the time has changed, years have passed, and I am not the same person who first made an account.
In the beginning, I saw Snapchat as a fun alternative to texting. The disappearing photos made conversations fun and entertaining, but when the concept of keeping a streak or having an entertaining story was brought into it, the app became less of a way to chat and more to broadcast about all the fun you were meant to be having.
I understand that Twitter and Instagram function in a similar way nowadays, but I also do not feel as forced to check those platforms every day. I know that if I want to delete those apps for a while or not post as often, it'll be fine. It doesn't quite work that way for Snapchat.
The addition of maintaining streaks places pressure on users to remain on the app constantly, even if they don't feel like they have anything to share. What started out as a fun way to show what you're doing becomes more like a chore… and then it becomes a competition.
Everyone wants to have a cool story. Everyone wants to have the highest streaks. And frankly, it's exhausting.
Even the thought of losing my streaks would upset me, and I hated that I'd put the app on this pedestal. The tiny number next to my friends really meant nothing, but I'd placed so much value on it that I'd feel stressed if I hadn't responded in a timely manner or responded with an equally hilarious photo.
I became very vocal about how much I was starting to hate the app, but funnily enough, it remained on my phone! I would still use it, even though I hated doing so. Thankfully, the other day, my highest streak broke, and instead of feeling distraught, I was only relieved.
I no longer feel like I have an obligation to post on Snapchat. While I haven't deleted it from my phone, it's only a matter of time before I do. There is something liberating about posting what I want on my own terms. Now, I can do that again.
If you're having any doubts about the benefits of whatever social media platforms you use, taking a step back can be insightful and beneficial. It doesn't have to be a permanent goodbye, but even giving yourself a break can remind you that your current experiences matter more than what appears on your screen.