SnapChat: Why are we so obsessed with ourselves?

The most recent Iphone App phenomenon has been the provocative yet silly, SnapChat.  SnapChat is a picture messaging service, but the twist is that a person can choose how long the picture will be viewable, for example 3 seconds.  This means that a person can send a “private” and fleeting picture to another, meaning that it can theoretically be as embarrassing and as, well, incriminating as a person wants.  Typically, I personally will receive about seven to eight “snapchats” a day of my friends taking meaningless and silly “selfies.” What I have recently realized, however, is how customary it has become to constantly be taking pictures of ourselves. It is common to see countless students in the library and in the dining halls and on the sidewalk obviously taking pictures of themselves.  But how is this silly media influencing us? Why are we so obsessed with ourselves? Does snap chat increase or decrease self objectification? In my psychology of gender class, we spend a great deal discussing how much we self objectify and where that motivation to do so comes from.  I feel as if this form of silly media increases self objectification, which is not really what our age group needs. I mean, really aren’t we focused on ourselves enough?

Maybe I am taking this silly app too far, but I think it says something about our generation and about our culture that we take such pleasure in our own faces and feel the need to remind twenty others what we look like ten times a day.  I admit, I am guilty of taking the casual snap chat.  It is fun. It is stupid. But really?  Is this just another way of communication, or is this a portal to other things?

Here is an article by the New York Times also discussing the recent SnapChat phenomenon:
Article about Snap Chat

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5 thoughts on “SnapChat: Why are we so obsessed with ourselves?

  1. Justine,I see what you are trying to say. Personally, I see a positive element in taking many pictures of yourself and publishing them. Basically, what it means is: Hey, this is me and I am ok with what my picture looks like, and I am willing to share it with the whole world. I don't think that everybody should be a fan of self publishing, but I can't see a problem with it either. I just like the fact that current times allow people to deal so openly with their identity. It favors some degree of tolerance in society, that had not been present some years ago.

  2. I've not heard of this snapchat. I will have to check it out more thoroughly. But, based on what you describe, I have to wonder about the market forces behind this. Is this a tool for a culture obsessed with maintaining appearances? Is this the new pocket mirror? Would I be taking it too far wen I say that makeup companies, clothing, and accessories (like sunglasses) might also be invested in promoting this technology. (Let's see if Loreal or Covergirl uses a cell phone in any of their upcoming commercials–a peer to peer panopticon used to talk about how you never know when you might need to take a picture…)

  3. I loved your blog post…we both snap chat each other back and forth on a daily basis. There's honestly no point to it, but it's super addicting. It's basically like texting with images…I don't know why it has become so popular.

  4. Justine,I do not personally use snapchat, but ever since its been released I have noticed people obviously taking pictures of themselves in public places more often. A few days ago I was in line at Chipotle, and the girl in from of me was taking a picture of herself with her Iphone making a silly face. I'm sure she ended up sending it to someone via snapchat. I do agree that our generation is kind of self obsessed and I do think that snapchat is an excellent example of it. I think it is such a phenomenon because it only lasts a few seconds, I think in this technological age where everything is permanently out there, we are intrigued by the idea of a picture disappearing after a short time.

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