Now that a new year is upon us, it’s time to step back and think about the previous year. What accomplishments came out of 2013? What regrets? While questions like that can be complicated to answer, (and perhaps we don’t want to be honest with ourselves), 2013 was a year full of changes. We witnessed Miley Cyrus redefine media sexuality; we were devastated to find we could no longer admire Paul Walker’s thriving beauty; we oohed and awwed over the royal baby, Prince George; we were horrified over the Boston Marathon bombing; and we helped establish the word ‘selfie’ as the most popular term for the year.
The popularity of the term selfie really exploded when the media went crazy over President Barack Obama taking a selfie with the English and Denmark PMs during Nelson Mandela’s funeral service. Sure, perhaps they could have chosen a better time and place to take such a picture but in today’s world, selfies are quite the norm for any situation.
Selfie is defined as a self-portrait, usually taken by a hand-held smart phone or digital camera. What really made selfies’ popularity take off was the creation of the app called SnapChat. A little history for those who have not yet explored into this selfie creation, SnapChat allows users to send pictures back and forth within a 1 to 10 second expiration time limit along with a short typed and/or drawn message. Essentially, SnapChat is just an easy way for users to send ridiculously silly, embarrassing pictures without the fear of it living forever in the social media world. That’s what has made the concept of SnapChat thrive—it’s fun, carefree attitude provided for its users.
With the growing popularity of SnapChat, I must ask, is this a new form of communication? SnapChat reduces the complexity of interaction. Think of this app as a lighter form of texting or tweeting: there are no comments, it takes a few minutes to respond back, the message line will only hold a few words, it’s a creative outlet, and can be more engaging for users. There’s just something inviting about sending a random, candid shot to other users. Because every SnapChat message has a time limit, it captures the full attention of the users to ensure they see every detail—providing a more personal feel to the app.
We do have to throw in a word of caution when using SnapChat. People can take a screenshot of your picture so not every picture is deleted forever. There have been issues with this app where teens will send explicit photos of themselves. So please do use your head when using SnapChat!
While we worried how texting would effect the way humans communicate, now I wonder how will SnapChat alter the communication world?