I left snapchat because it was making me stupid
I felt a cold breeze on my behind and realized that I had been sitting on the toilet for at least 20 mins, tap-tap-tapping through my snapchat feed like some kind of a social media zombie, totally unaware of the passage of time. I had copy to file and a wash to put on, but in those twenty mins I wasn’t in my little Ranelagh apartment; I was sitting in James Kavanagh’s kitchen, cooking seabass with William; I was walking down the street with Rosemary MacCabe wondering if I should buy a donut; and I was laughing along with Kate Hudson as one of her babies played with her eyeliner as she got ready for a night out. It was like the opposite of flow, it was like chewing gum for the brain. It was at this moment that I knew I had to quit.
The thing about snapchat is that it is mostly, incredibly inane. People upload short video clips of their day-to-day lives, which you can watch for 24 hours before they disappear. The fleeting quality of each video, means there’s little to no pressure to create anything particularly meaningful. Depending on how many clips are uploaded, and how many people you follow, you can up end watching numerous short films about nothing, every day. It was that afternoon I realized that, I was no longer doing things like reading books, cooking nice meals and ringing my friends, and that snapchat was turning my brain into self-hating mush.
I never felt good after spending time on Snapchat. Actually I usually came away feeling like I wanted to buy something- a growing issue thanks to all the #ad #spon posts that are increasingly popping up. It’s an app that feed the ever-growing obsession with ‘what the neighbours are up to’. It is the apex tool for social comparison. Ten minutes on your feed and you know what designer handbag that blogger just bought, what hotel the girl you went to school with is staying at in Paris, and how many times a week that other journalist goes to the gym. Yes, other social media platforms do this, but their format feels less invasive somehow. This difference could be put down to the use of video, but people also use snapchat differently. They share more, while simultaneously being more adept at selling this 'honest' version of themselves. It's exhausting.
Snapchat is this decade’s boring version of reality TV. In the 00s we watched attention seeking ‘stars’ have screaming fights and act out dramatized plot lines. It was trashy- but it was entertainment. Now we watch people making tea. And often these aren’t even glamorous people that live in far away lands, these are people who you could bump into at Tesco’s, and sometimes do.
There are no thought out plot-lines on your snapchat feed, and no screaming fights; because this is real life I.R.L. Snapchat’s dramatic fights usually involve snide, hidden comments from one blogger to another that you need a degree in the ins-and-outs of their lives to even notice. And I had started to notice. I knew too much about these people.
So I quit, and since my departure I have only caved once (I was tired and emotional and I needed my crutch). I still have Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, and for some, that still sounds like a lot. But for me, Snapchat was the step too far. I read a book last week, I am happy to inform you that I now spend minimal time in the toilet.