The Snapchat generation: Take a picture before anything else
March 31, 2017 11:45 AM NPT
There are some people who will let their food get cold as they try to get that perfect photo. Most likely this art of a photo will be for their Snapchat story. The frenzy of this app where everything you post will disappear in 24 hours built up so much that popular social media networks like Instagram and then Facebook messenger too introduced this feature.
In the last few years, there has been a significant rise in the number of Snapchat users in the country. From “what is that?” to screeches of “add me”, Shapchat has evolved and how. But there are different kinds of snapchatters out there, and The Week’s Isha Upadhyay set out to find them all. (*Some names have been changed.)
The constant snapper
It doesn’t matter if she is sitting at home watching a series or if she is out and about, Pragya Rai is almost always on Snapchat. “If I feel like I don’t look good enough with the filter, I put an emoticon over my face and put it on my story with captions to match, like binge watching, or couch potato,” she said. When asked, she said she doesn’t really use the stories option in any other mainstream social network. It’s the filters that she is most attracted to, which is why Snow, the Korean version of Snapchat, also looks appealing to her lately.
It has filters ranging from where you are the one of the K-pop band members doing their dance routines to unicorns. At times, she finds herself unconsciously unlocking her phone, taking a photo and saving it, and repeating the action before it feels like déjà vu and she realizes she only just took a selfie.
Some days while looking in the mirror, Parisha Rajbhandari feels so beautiful that she wants to take a selfie. However, when she does take one, she feels like she will be able to take a better one and doesn’t save the first selfie. However, even after 40 tries she claims to not get that perfect shot and realizes that the first one she took, the one she didn’t save, was indeed the perfect one. The 40 others that she did save just stays there on her camera roll till one day she scrolls back, feels ashamed of her failed attempts and deletes them all. “These days I save every selfie I take so that I don’t regret the one I didn’t save, but now my camera roll is full of photos I haven’t used because none of them are good enough,” she said. The selfies she does put up, she revealed, are the winning selfies of many similar photos that she sends to her friends first.
The silent stalker
Although he has been on Snapchat since it was launched, Saugat Rimal has yet to post more than a handful of stories. When checked, the total number of snaps he has sent is below 50 as well. However it is one of the apps he opens early in the morning when he hasn’t even left the bed yet.
“I like seeing everything others are up to, and laughing at the things they make public, without par taking in the same,” he said. He does however have pictures of Snapchat filters all over his Instagram feed. He has a son who is fascinated by the new filters that come out every once in a while and some turn out too cute to not be posted and made public, he shared.
For the sake of the streak
“I had a 200-day streak with my girlfriend,” says Bimal Ghale*, 19. “We were so excited about the pink hearts next to the fire.” However, he says that it was lost when they broke up. What the scribe took to be a joke, he had said in all seriousness. “I don’t know if I was sadder about the breakup or the lost streak. It meant so much to us. We would send a Snapchat the minute we woke up just to maintain the streak, and freak out and call each other if the timer appeared next to the fire,” he said.
There had even been times where they had logged on to each other’s accounts when the other didn’t have internet access just for the sake of the streak. It’s more about the bragging rights, he said.
The bored one
Every time Niki Bhutiya is bored, she finds herself on Snapchat. According to her, it is a great way to keep yourself entertained. She turns on music on her cell phone, opens Snapchat, often applies a filter (the dog filter being her favorite) and sings along to the songs and posts them on her story. Back in the days where Snapchat stories would come with the second count, hers would exceed over 1000 some days, which is more than 16 minutes of 10 seconds stories each.
“Sometimes, when none of my friends are online they find 200 to 500 seconds worth of messages from me when they log in,” she said. She does however have more than 200 people on her friend list and most of them message her asking her if she is okay on days she is busy and doesn’t upload much.
It has been a long time since Chandani Malla*, 16, or any of her friends have had a meal piping hot right after it came to their table. When they see the waiter coming towards them with their order, everyone has Snapchat open and is ready with their phones. Then comes the mad dash to get the perfect shot.
“We have walked out of a restaurant countless times because the only available seats had bad lighting,” she revealed. However, when forced to sit in the spot with bad lighting, they have a supportive group who shine their flashlight on the food. According to her, groups of people who do this are ‘squad goals’. “I have a phone with a good camera”, she said taking out her iPhone 6, “People should be in awe of all the pictures I take with it.”
To contrast the particular ones, there are ones who don’t care about the aesthetics. “I don’t think about being artsy with a pizza and take a shot with the hot gooey cheese being pulled out,” says Shreya Bista. All she wants to do is post it on her story, no matter if it’s blurry or the lighting is bad. It’s mostly just photo proof, a validation of sort, of what she has been up to. “If you didn’t snap it, did it really happen?” she said laughing. All she really wants to do is live in the moment but there is a tiny part of her that tells her to show everyone how much fun she is having. Which is why she often takes sloppy photos, it’s easier to let people know how much fun you are having, and how you like to live in the moment, with pictures that don’t look like much thought have been given to them. This, maybe, is counterproductive since it’s clear that she has given much thought to this as well.
Asking if he would be kept anonymous, Rahul Regmi* confessed that cheating on his girlfriend is easier on Snapchat. Since the conversation disappears when unsaved, there is no evidence to trace his infidelity back to him. “I can’t be tied down to one single person, it drives me insane, and I have cheated on my girlfriend many times through Snapchat. It’s easier because she is one of those rare people who is not on Snapchat.” However, he says that since she likes using his Snapchat for the filters, he needed to be very careful. Worrying, though, is a thing of the past for him, he revealed. Having discovered the app Parallel Space (which he added to the list of hidden apps) he now has two Snapchat accounts, one of which is hidden from his girlfriend. He only has girls there and none of his real life friends know about it, making ‘cheating’ convenient for him.