Ten seconds or less


Joseph Boughter

Snapchat user views his friends’ Stories.

Ten seconds or less—that’s all the time you have to make your picture worth a thousand words.

Snapchat is an app that serves one purpose: to send quick, non-permanent messages. Most teenagers with an iPhone have a Snapchat, and students at White Station are no different.

Snapchat, like any popular app, has controversy surrounding it. Some people say it’s the new Instagram. Others argue it is merely a tool for sexting. Arguing that sexting is the main use of the app overlooks the appeal of photo communication among teens. Pictures provide a quick way to converse and often display emotions better than texts.

“The primary purpose for me is just another way of communicating to my friends, especially those who don’t live in Memphis or who I don’t see that often,” Mary Margaret Williams (10) said.

No matter where you go, it’s hard to escape that little white ghost. Students use the app in school halls, outside at the end of the day, and at school-sponsored events like football games. To say that teens use Snapchat frequently is an understatement.

“I use Snapchat every day, but if I am busy I use it less…I think Snapchat is a really fun and chill way to keep up with your friends,” Ruthie Ivy (10) said.

It could be argued that one of the reasons Snapchat is used so often is simply to continue a streak with a friend. The streak system tracks how many days in a row two people Snap. The weight that is put on Streaks in undoubtedly too great. Streaks give a sort of numeric value to a friendship; therefore, incentivizing people to go to extreme lengths to keep them, even giving their Snapchat passwords to friends when their phone is not accessible. By playing into users’ insecurities about their friendships, Snapchat can ensure more consistent activity.

Besides Streaks, one of Snapchat’s most captivating features is its Geofilters. A Geofilter places a small sticker on the user’s image and shows its location; it is most popular on college campuses, where Snapchat arguably gets the most use.

Jade Pearce (12) and Andrew Maloney (12) have been working to create a Snapchat Geofilter unique to White Station. Their filter has been submitted and is being reviewed by Snapchat.

“After seeing all the Geofilters for different areas of Memphis, I thought that White Station should have their own. So many students and even faculty members have Spartan pride,”  Pearce said.

Snapchat is not perfect nor is it entirely secure, but it’s useful, and more importantly it’s fun. When texting starts to feel mundane, a selfie will say more than enough.