Chelsea Rush, a junior public relations and advertising major, smirks to make a silly face at her phone and send a picture on Snapchat while walking to the Student Union. She knows it’ll be automatically deleted within seconds of being viewed by the recipient.
Students like Rush use Snapchat to send pictures they’d like their friends to see but not keep, as the free application permanently deletes the photos within a few seconds of being opened. She said this feature also makes it a popular choice among students wanting to share embarrassing images.
The application is free and can be downloaded for both Android and iPhone. It allows users to send a message with their photos, yet there are no other messaging capabilities unlike other popular applications like WhatsApp.
Users can choose how many seconds they want the picture to be seen for, ranging from one to 10 seconds, before it is deleted.
“It is so funny to walk around campus watching people make the craziest faces while looking at their phone because they are trying to Snapchat someone,” Rush said. “Plus half the photos people send, at least for me, are so embarrassing because I am deliberately trying to make the most disgusting face ever. Thank god they are deleted instantly.”
Controversy sparked when Snapchat was first launched over whether or not it encourages sexting because of the instant deletion of the photos, and Rush said she understands why.
“Most of my friends do it to be funny, but I can see where it would be easy to send sexual pictures,” Rush said. “The picture is gone forever within seconds.”
When a user takes a screenshot, it notifies the sender. The screenshot must be taken before the picture’s time limit expires.
Christian Tachiera, a junior public relations and advertising major, said he bought the application for his mom, who preferred him to keep the photos she sent him from home private.
“My mom made me get it so she can Snapchat me,” Tachiera said. “Otherwise, I feel like it is mostly used for nudes or girls who like to take selfies of themselves.”
Verizon Wireless sales associate Rosalin Jackson said the application is popular among younger generations because of its simplicity.
“It’s easy and convenient,” Jackson said. “Kids seem to really have fun doing it, more so than a simple text. People are glued to their phones.”
Katie Sellars, a junior psychology major, said she’s also noticed the “Snapchatting” fad.
“It may be a distracting application, but it seems like a blast,” Sellars said. “Plus sometimes a simple text doesn’t do a situation justice. They do say a picture says a thousand words.”
Sellars said Snapchat is easier than just texting a photo.
“The camera and contact is all right there in the application. You don’t have to go through taking the picture, pulling it up, pressing send, and then picking your contact,” Sellars said. “It is just easier.”