For the past years, Snapchat has become the new and popular social media space. One which young millennials are using to create and break relationships. According to Ilana Gershon (2010) in The breakup 2.0 disconnecting over new media “No matter what is actually said, the medium becomes what is being communicated” (p.3). The author discusses how these platforms, such as Facebook, etc. can cause issues with relationships, and clarifies on how they also reshape and reform our communication pattern as well. Snapchat is a perfect social media medium that expands and elaborates on such relationship reforms and changes. Snapchat is a multimedia mobile application that was created by Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy, with the hopes of sharing images that are short live and self deleting and that helped with sharing memories with friends and family. It was implemented into IOS in July 2011, as it helped encourage frivolity and emphasized a more natural flow of interaction.
Snapchat hasn’t been out for long, so the followings aren’t as large as other prominent social media platforms, such as Facebook and Tumblr. Although, because of how snap chat functions and the large target audience it preys towards; a younger audience which seems to be a larger consensus currently present on social media. So to align this with relationships, Snapchat is seen as a very intimate app that is used to share private contents between couples in a relationship and because of this, it has been spouted as a plausible tool that can ruin a relationship. Cheating, jealousy and insecurities are all an unfortunate part of the human relationship since the break of dawn. And snap chat happens to be the medium that helps encourage flirtations, cheating and jealousy in relationships.
Ilana Gershon describes media ideology as “how a medium communicates and structures communication” (2016, p.18). The media ideology of snap chat is a media space where intimate feelings are shared with the aid of the 10 seconds video features, its a place where you just want to send your most embarrassing and personal experiences, thoughts and actions, while hoping it disappears after a one chance replay (which is also another feature snap chat offers). Its a space where you use to test waters, and investigate if your partner seems to be replaying other girls’ snap chat video, while lying to you about it. Its a place where flirtations are highly possible (with the private messenger attached to the app), and the possibility of been caught is highly impossible, as the video is only 10 seconds long and disappears eventually. Because of the way this platform is shaped, a lot of things are put into considerations, especially for couples who use it together. A good example of this, is the interview I had with a friend, on how snap chat changed her into a jealous and insecure person, which eventually broke her relationship of 3 years. I will be using pseudonyms, just to keep their names confidential.
Me: So are you on snap chat?
Kenny: No, but I used to have it before.
Me: So, why don’t you anymore?
Kenny: It brings a lot of bad memories, so I deleted it off my phone.
me: Oh! and why is that?
Kenny: It broke off my three years of relationship, and changed me into someone else basically.
Me: Could you elaborate on that?
Kenny: So three years ago, when I was still with Tommy, everything was going fine until we both joined snap chat and things changed. He started acting strange, like whenever we were with each other and he got a snap chat message, he would awkwardly leave the room to read it, I didn’t think much of it at first, as it was his personal life anyway, but eventually it got to me. I couldn’t help myself, so I confronted him about it. He didn’t like the reproach and became defensive which led up to different arguments we had. After a while, I confirmed that he was indeed cheating on me after I went through his phone (he was texting a girl named Annie, and sent her nudes frequently). So I became very furious and jealous, I kept on thinking if it was my fault? if I wasn’t good enough, or what I had to do to make things right again and return to how they used to be before. I lost all my confidence and became very insecure towards everything. When we finally hit the last stroke, was when we had a heated argument about everything, and he said he was indeed cheating on me and wanted to break up because he was in love with Annie.
Me: how did that make you feel (with him breaking up with you over dating Annie)?
Kenny: I felt really devastated, and blamed everything on snap chat. If we hadn’t joined snap chat it wouldn’t have happened, if I hadn’t looked at his private messages I wouldn’t have known the truth and wouldn’t have seen a need to confront him about anything, hence there wouldn’t be any argument of any sort. So now, I hate snap chat and other social media spaces because of my experience.
Me: I see. Thank you Kenny for sharing such private thoughts with me.
Kenny: You are welcome, glad I could be of help.
Kenny’s story clearly shows how Snap chat can induce feelings such as jealousy, cheating, flirting and breaking up as well. It also shows how snap chat constructed Kenny’s communication with her ex-boyfriend Tommy.
Idioms of practice
An Idiom is an expression whose meaning has little, often nothing, to do with the meaning of the words in the expression itself “You have to know its hidden meaning” (Jerry Keen, 2016). Idioms of practice on snap chat isn’t as profound as expressed in other social media platforms, for example, on Facebook, when a couple breaks up they go onto post comments like “I couldn’t do it anymore” or :I’m tired of it all”. Idioms like these leave their followers in frustration, as they aren’t aware of what contents are hidden behind those few words. Although, since snap chat doesn’t really have a homepage where we can write words that would last forever, but rather, only videos is a way of communication. On snap chat, the idiom of practice I thought about was; people would chose a black background and write a few text (like; “I’m not even bothered anymore” or “so not jealous, get over yourself”) and behind this text sometimes , would be joined by a sad breakup Taylor Swift song in the background. This happened to me recently, as my bestfriend had done the same as well. She posted in the same format, and had written “not that into you anyway, so do whatever you want”, “I know you were texting her, I’m not stupid”, and “keep ignoring my texts, I see you ” So I called her immediately to ask why she did that and what had actually happened and this was she had to say;
First off, I was really mad at him at that time when I posted that on my feed. I just wanted him to see it and know that I wasn’t jealous or anything, but at the same time I wanted him to watch it and try to reach out to me. And second of all, we had a big fight because I caught him sexting another girl a girl who happens to be my friend and follows me on snap chat as well. So it was a message for both of them to see and feel guilty for what they are doing.
Structure of the medium
Since Snapchat is such a private and romantic media space, the medium is a bit tricky when it comes to adding people. Its easy to add friends through their user names, directly from you contact list on your mobile and scanning their code by tapping continuously on the ghost image. This makes it much more secured, because you only show things to the people you added yourself or want to send , unlike other media spaces. So say you send an embarrassing video on your feed, you at least have an idea of the people who can see it, and since they are people you are comfortable enough with, even enough to add them, then its fine.
A personal story, My friend told me that there was once she mistakenly posted screen shots of the argument she had with her boyfriend on her news feed, and she almost died of embarrassment(which she later went back to delete it). She said that the worst part of it was she had the time limit to 10 seconds which is too long to view a picture but appropriate for a video. She saw that a lot of people had viewed it (as the toggle bar indicated on the right of her “story” feed). She said she regretted it a lot , because her boyfriend as of then called and fought with her over it, which led to their breakup.
This just comes a long way to show how the structure of this space also allows room for reasons that could lead to cheating, flirtations, jealousy and even breaking up.
On Snapchat there isn’t a lot of connecting accounts occurring, mostly because of the structure of the medium. Although what snap chat users do is write their handle names on a post and post it to their feed, with the hopes of their followers screenshotting that post for keeps. Snap chat and twitter share a sense of remediation, as they are both intimate and personal media spaces. For example, a friend of mine who met her boyfriend through twitter, says that “we met on twitter and immediately he asked for my snap chat username so he could add me, in order to send me his pictures and videos and vise -versa” .
Snapchat and twitter may share a few similar purposes, but they don’t relate to Facebook and Instagram. These platforms are more for a public social interaction, one that involved less romance and intimacy and involved more travelling photos and bikini photos.
I’m hardly ever on Facebook or Instagram, I just feel like most of my friends are on Snapchat and twitter (including you Stacy). I feel like both social media space gives a more formal vibe than twitter and snap chat, which gives a more informal feeling. I guess that’s the reason why people always have personal relationships issue on Snap chat and twitter more than anywhere else.
Second Order Information
In this instance, Snap chat has different ways in how second order information occurs. The first way is how snap chat instigates relationship issues. “I was fighting with my boyfriend last week, and he left the house in anger and refused to talk to me afterwards, so I texted him and was awaiting his reply, but got none, but I posted a video on snap chat which he had viewed. This had made me really pissed, as I felt he wasn’t taking me serious or showing any effort to solve the issues at hand”. Second occasion was “I had a friend who was supposed to meet up with me after class to complete an assignment due the next day, I waited on him half an hour after our scheduled time, only to get a text saying he wont be making it as his car had been tolled. been pissed and all for having to have waited in vain, I spooked it off and worked on the assignment myself, although while watching people’s stories on snap chat, I stumbled unto his, which he had a new post that was20 minutes ago, showing him dancing to a Beatles song in his bedroom. I didn’t know how to feel after looking at it, I had so many mixed feelings”
Although the second example doesn’t relate to relationships, it does relate to how this could be possible influence in relationship issues as well. Couples lie to each other and forget that those lies could be caught up through their media spaces.
What is the Public
On the media space Snapchat, been in the public eye or being public is quite more difficult, as it is more of a private space. You can really go to the setting and make your account private or public, because people cant see or add you if they don’t have your name or are not in your contact This is what makes snap chat very different, you could block a person, or remove friend rather.
I added someone I thought I knew but discovered it wasn’t them, as she continued posting short pornographic videos of herself and sending it to me. Si I blocked her and that was the end of it.
On snap chat, Your public Is those you added yourself and know very well.