Walking out of the department store with the perfect Valentine’s Day present for your wife in hand, you smile to yourself, but before you take out your iPhone to snap a quick picture to your buddies for bragging rights you stop and think.
“What if Alex shows his wife and she tells mine? What if my wife goes through my phone and sees the picture later?”
Well you’re in luck! Two brilliant undergraduates at Stanford wanted a way to share pictures with their friends without long-term consequences. Their logic behind the app now known as Snapchat? Some images are meant to be shared with friends but not to be kept by them. Not every moment in our lives has to be a shining, perfect, Kodak moment. Sometimes you just want to make the ugliest face your can possibly make—warping your facial features and pushing down on your neck to create roll after roll of glorious extra chins. Snapchat pictures self-destruct after a maximum of 10 seconds. Perfect for people concerned with their social media footprints, the pictures disappear from the depths of the Internet—forever. So, if you want to send a quick, yet personal message to a friend, you can use Snapchat. Take a picture of whatever you’re doing (or of yourself), add some text, draw on the picture even! Then, with a couple of quick taps on your phone screen, the image can be sent to any number of your Snapchat contacts. If someone tries to break unspoken Snapchat code by taking a screenshot of your snap, the app notifies you.
Some recent Snapchats sent to me include my friend Camille sitting at a café in Paris where she’s studying abroad, textbook in hand, frown on her face with the text “I don’t want to study”. Another includes a snap from my friend Nick of his old flip phone captioned as “so meta”, taken on his shiny new smartphone. Snapchat is still in a weird place. No one really knows how or if it will change the social media playing field, but experts have valued the service at $50 million. The application is great for those with growing concerns regarding Internet privacy and safety, and can help people feel better about sharing photos online.
So, go ahead and send that snap of the perfect V-Day present. Add any caption you want! After all, it’s only going to last a few seconds.