Iwas first introduced to Snapchat, a chat-through-snaps app, by a friend who described it thus: “A perfectly safe way to exchange a dirty picture or two with the boyfriend.”
The app allows a one-to-ten-second timer on every ‘snap’, after which it disappears. And if you think you’ll try sneaking in a screenshot, you can’t, without the sender getting a notification about the same. So there…perishability is the USP of the app. It makes the daring attempt to go against the haunting permanence the rest of the virtual world hurls on our activities—our pictures, videos, texts etc. Lured by the novelty here, I finally downloaded it.
Like all other social platforms, Snapchat has kept up with time and made itself more complicated. There are now filters that you can choose from, 11 of them, and 16 selfie lenses that can transform you from a princess, to a skeleton, ghost, panda, fire-spitting demon, serpent skin, and much more that I have lost track of. Also, added early on was the video option which can have a length of 10 seconds—a feature that shot to fame many people—comedians, and divas alike. I must credit both Pammi Aunty and Tanmay Bhatt’s popularity to Snapchat, and also the sales of Kylie Jenner’s make-up line.
After an enthusiastic start, my usage graph for Snapchat has been on a downturn. From hourly checks, it is now at a faltering once-a-day, something most of my close friends are not happy about.
What sold Snapchat was its exclusivity of sending self-destroying photos. Other things were added to it, but there are too many apps for them already. Impermanence, the principal feature of this swimming against the current app, is reassuring in a world obsessed with creating an archive of everything.