I’ve been somewhat violently reminded that people hate bragging. At least, they hate it when their friends brag about something they don’t have. I am a French girl who recently moved to San Francisco. Upon my arrival, I posted a picture on Facebook and got a very ironic comment from a close mate: “Wow, an aircraft wing!!! That’s nuts!!! I hadn’t seen one in such a long time!!! Got any other pictures of those? What kind of plane was it? Do you have pictures of the plane seats too? I love seats! And what did you get in your tray meal?” Ridiculously envious as the comment was, my other friends kept “liking” it. I realised that many people don’t appreciate public Facebook posts. First, they reflect a distant image of people they may otherwise feel close to, showing only what has been arranged to look artificially pretty. Second, people hate to think that one of their friends is having a great time without them. You might argue that complaining and being ironic are what we Frenchies do best: you may not be wrong. But I am convinced that most people feel the same way, even though they won’t admit it so openly.
This is where Snapchat comes in
When I send my friends a picture on Snapchat, I’m not trying to brag. I send them things that non-Snapchat-users would define as stupid: photos taken from an odd angle or videos of myself having fun. I show a moment the way it really was. It doesn’t matter how ugly my face looked at that moment or how silly I was acting. Snapchat is not about generating envy; it is about sharing with the people you truly love. Snapchat messages are anti-artificial. They represent real moments. Their senders’ intentions are modest. People are tired of model-type photos on Facebook. They don’t want to feel a distance between them and their lucky traveller friends. They want raw interactions, and that is what ephemeral pictures are actually giving them. What is it that people can send on Snapchat and can’t – or shouldn’t- post on Facebook? Videos of concerts they are attending but clearly don’t have the right phone to record. Selfies. Snaps of their pets. Sexy pictures. Drunken videos. All of those will create a smile on the recipient’s face; and if they don’t, well it’s only a few seconds of their time. A big Merci to you, Snapchat.