From Fighting to Flirting: The Social Etiquette of Snapchat
Snapchat is the primary mode of communication between college students. So of course the app comes along with an unspoken social etiquette. The discrete, impermanent nature of the platform makes for a more casual and carefree social media space. What you post on Snapchat is less likely to reach the eyes of your future employer or people you don’t actually know. In case you are unfamiliar with Snapchat, I will give you a run down. Snapchat literally does everything. Through this app you can impermanently share anything under the technological sun. You can video chat, track people’s locations, and even check your astrological compatibility with a potential partner. There is also a never-ending supply of trashy, over-monetized videos with clickbait-y titles like:
My Girlfriend Acts Like A Dog and I Love It
My 11-Year-Old Son is A Drag Queen
She Spent $1.7 Million To Look Like Barbie
Now that you’re caught up— here are: The Unspoken Rules of Snap
- No Screenshotting
Taking a screenshot of someone’s story or a snap they sent to you is a BIG no-no. If left unexplained, it’s an easy way to alienate yourself from an acquaintance. A screenshot notification makes someone think you’re talking about them. This is especially true if you take a screenshot of the chats between you and another person— it communicates that you are having what would be a full fledged SCREAMING fight in real life. These screenshots are taken because it is assumed you will unfriend or block the person afterwards. This means that even saved chats can’t be revisited. Shit goes down in snap text, not regular text. People are wayyy more ballsy with what they say due to the time sensitive nature of the app. Chats disappear instantaneously or after 24 hours have passed. This makes it so people can’t be held accountable for what they say… unless the chat is saved.
2. Strategically Sharing Snap Interactions
When you and someone else have an emotional conversation or a low key fight– usually the text chats are permanently saved in the chat. The act of saving the conversation implies you wish to reflect back on the interaction. These saved chats may prove your social innocence, or display your heartfelt apology. Either way, both parties better save the entire conversation to cover their asses. Otherwise, chats could be taken out of context. To discreetly share a snap conversation with an outside party over text, the “copy” function can be utilized. This is best done once the conversation is over. If someone’s bitmoji is jumping up and down– it suggests they are copying the entire conversation and sending it to their bff, likely with expletives in all caps… “THE F%#King AUDACITY OF THIS MAN!”
3. Snap instead of text
Regular texting can feel stuffy in comparison to snap text. If someone asks for your number, they have to either text you or completely disappear from your radar. But, if someone asks for your Snapchat, they don’t have to directly text you right away. Both parties can passively watch each other’s stories until a conversation naturally arises.
4. Never Leave Someone On “Open”
This a rule of thumb for those who are “streak freaks” with an absurd snap score. However, it is especially important when talking to someone. Leaving someone on “open” gives them the impression that you are no longer interested. This makes flirting an especially exhausting endeavor. Sometimes it takes like ten selfies to finally get the perfect snap. The goal is to look both hot and nonchalant— which is extremely hard to accomplish. Especially when your hair is up in a pony tail and can’t be used to hide part of your face… or is that just me?
5. Keep Up With Your Streaks
I do not internalize snapchat streaks with my close circle, but it’s important to keep streaks with people you’re talking to or with more distant friends. Breaking a snapchat streak indicates that you don’t desire to stay in touch with them. However, if you generally struggle to keep up with your replies (like me)– people learn this about you and don’t internalize it.
6. Private Stories
Everyone uses their private story differently. Some use their private story to invite people to parties. Other people use it to prove they “had fun last night.” But, the beautiful thing about Private Stories is that they are unique to each individual. Every person establishes their own private story etiquette– which can be interesting sometimes. My private story is named “Abbey’s Memoir.” I use this story as a platform to share more personal things. What I post aims to start a conversation with people, while my more superficial posts are reserved for my public story. “Abbey’s Memoir” is reserved for people who I consider friends. My view count can stretch anywhere between 15-50 people– it really depends on how outgoing I’m feeling and the content I’m posting. There are periods where I only include close friends because I need a place to vent. But usually, if it’s someone I’d see and say hi to in a public place, I would include them on this story. On “Abbey’s Memoir” I primarily share party stuff, humorous content, and excerpts of my writing. As a writer, I have found “Abbey’s Memoir” to be a great place for worry-free, impermanent self expression. My story also helps me to keep in contact with people who I don’t directly message often.
7. DO NOT SCROLL!
Snapchat creates a camera roll known as “Memories” within the app. These are the photos and videos you chose to be saved indefinitely. I likely won’t ever delete Snapchat just because of this feature. Snap memories are better than what can be found on your phone’s camera roll because they are the moments you wanted to share with others. These are your concert videos, your vacation photos, your selfies, and pictures with friends. If you’re anything like me– your camera roll is a gigantic mess. The 25,000 photos stored on your camera roll are incredibly boring. There are likely photos of your last photographable medical issue. And, there are definitely creepy screenshots you took in the midst of Instagram stalking. Your camera roll is— for the most part— innocently embarrassing. The password protected “My Eyes Only” on Snapchat is an entirely different story. These are the moments you wanted to commemorate but were never intended to be viewed, by others, beyond their impermanent lifespan. We have been raised in an age of over-documentation– so of course this very personal content exists. In rare instances, you may be allowed to view an item in someone else’s “My Eyes Only.” This brings me to the MOST important rule of all: DO NOT SCROLL!