By Cache’ Cantrell
Released to the app store in
September 2011, Snapchat is gaining popularity in the media. Founders and fraternity brothers Evan Spiegel, 22, and Bobby Murphy, 24, created a free photo and video sharing app that stands out from others on the market in that it deletes the photo or video almost immediately after the receiver opens it. More than 50 million snaps are sent daily. “Snapchat isn’t about the traditional Kodak moment. It’s about communicating with the full range of human emotion,” said Spiegel on Snapchat’s blog. In an interview with “The New York Times” Murphy referred to the app as “a digital version of passing notes in class.”
Although the app is more than a year old, I had just heard about it from a classmate a few weeks ago and after doing some research. I decided to see what all of the hype was about. I recruited two of my friends to add the app as well so I could see how it worked. After downloading the app–which is available for iPhones and Androids–it requests that you verify your phone number in order to add friends from your contacts. Once your number is verified and you want to add friends, two lists are given: one for the contacts who already have Snapchat, and one for those who can be invited.
After I added my friends, I was ready to send my first snap. Sending a snap is fairly easy, you take a picture or video set, the timer–one second being the shortest amount of time and 10 seconds being the longest–select receivers and send it. If you want to get creative Snapchat also allows you to draw on your picture and create a caption before sending it. When I first started using the app it, was pretty addictive. My friends and I stayed up sending goofy snaps to one another with captions and drawings on our faces. For us it was all in good fun, but the more I mentioned it, the more people give a crooked, up-to-no-good smirk. It became obvious that people were using this app for more than just a laugh with friends.
The big controversy about Snapchat is that people are using it to send sexual photos and videos of themselves with the thought that the snap will be deleted in seconds and there won’t be a shred of the evidence. For those who are contemplating the idea of sending someone a sexy picture, you may want to think twice. Yes, the snap will automatically delete when the timer is up, but iPhone users can easily take a screen shot of your photo. When the recipient takes a screen shot, Snapchat will send you a message, but by then, it is too late-that person has your picture saved in their photo album. Tech News World also reported that when the receiver plugs his or her iPhone into a computer to sync their iPhone they may be able to search the temporary files in the phone and upload the pictures and videos sent from Snapchat.
Law enforcement in Denver have been getting calls regarding pedophiliac pictures being sent to their children through the app. “We’ve seen adult genitalia, we’ve seen naked females that you’re not even asking for send pictures and they’re just popping up and then people are asking you to send some of the same type of pictures,” Detective Mike Harris told the local ABC news.
I found the app to be fun and, whether Snapchat is being used for sexting, criminal behavior or passing digital notes in class, it is clear that this app was made for mischief.