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Dr. Snapchat or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love to Snap

  • By Ben Fraternale

I resisted the lure of Snapchat for four years, ignoring its burgeoning popularity and rejecting its necessity. As a massive fan of content, big or small, the notion of that content vanishing literally churned my organs. I took this hilarious picture of my cat drinking out of the toilet, but now what? I took this video of an ice skater falling on his face, but only a few people will see it? Sure, you can download them to your phone, but at that point it may as well be on Facebook.

My Snapchat intervention came in the form of TimeLine Managing Director (and visionary) Sean LaGamma. It’s ironic that within the walls of a video production company, which specializes in editing among other things, he obsessed over unedited stream-of-consciousness videos. His philosophy that the app allows “goofiness without consequences” began to rub off on me, because it’s how I attempt to live life anyway.

Soon, my phone was flooded with Sean’s snaps, particularly ones he calls “cheers,” in which he smashes any beverage or food he is holding into the camera and then ingests it (a trend started by Sean’s friends, The Dolces). This, combined with the app’s facial recognition feature (which can render your face as Satan, turn your mouth into a projectile rainbow spigot, etc), really piqued my interest in actually using Snapchat.

A post on Instagram, Facebook, and particularly Twitter, shoots off into the ether. People might see it, people might not. When I post on those platforms, it’s usually something I legitimately care to share. On Snapchat, however, the aspect of an extraordinarily direct audience you can shovel nonsense at really sets it apart on the social media menu. My concern for content salience no longer mattered with Snapchat and silliness reigned.

Moreover, the team-building aspect of Snapchat makes it a fun asset for internal company usage. Sean militantly recruited each of us to the app. As a result, we are all firing fleeting ridiculousness at each other and it keeps the TimeLine team constantly connected (with the one holdout of Adam, who refuses to download it and scowls in our Snaps to great comedic effect).

I once feared that Snapchat was too internal, the content too unpolished, and the very act of using it a waste of a moment captured. Now, I’ve seen the light and bask in the glory of short-lived content, a burden lifted and another app to enjoy.

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