You spent the whole time snapchatting the concert. I’m not even sure you enjoyed the music.”
These were the exact words spoken by my sister to me as we left the Hollywood Bowl after a performance by Kygo, a D.J. from Norway.
I love Snapchat. Its focus on fleeting content is refreshingly different from social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, where content is permanent unless deleted. Yet, despite its novelty, I found myself discovering a serious drawback of the app while I was at the concert.
I was so focused on capturing the perfect picture that I had forgotten the mere essence of why I even bought a ticket — to enjoy the music. I had taken more than 21 videos. That translated to a lot of time spent on my phone screen when I really should have been watching the performance.
This is not to undermine Snapchat’s value as a social media platform. Unlike Instagram, which is more often than not a collection of one’s best moments, Snapchat provides a more realistic picture of daily life. I’ve sent snaps of myself stressing over exams, impending work, or even when I was having a bad hair day. I wouldn’t do the same on Facebook or Instagram. Furthermore, Snapchat allows for a deeper connection between you and those that you send ‘snaps’ too. Unlike text messages, it is predominantly picture-based, thus bringing in a visual element which is sometimes more personal than plain text.
Perhaps my real problem with Snapchat is what it’s become. I find myself attending social events for the sole purpose of posting it on snapchat — so people know I’m having fun. It’s developed into a vehicle for peer pressure and has led to a fear of missing out, or “FOMO.”
Social media is a powerful tool within limits. Sometimes, you’re better off being in the moment than capturing it on your device. Pictures or videos are not the only source of proof that you’ve attended an event.
Memories exist, too.