The introduction of the smartphone application Snapchat was a huge game changer in 2011. Front facing cameras had been introduced and now the concept of an image that could only be seen for 10 seconds. This changed the way we took selfies and influenced the nature of the selfies we took, because what consequences could there be to a photo that you could only see for 10 seconds?
Initially launched in 2011 under the name Picaboo, creators Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy discovered the market to sending foolish photos on their smartphones. This then led to the new features such as videos and the ability to annotate these photos and by 2012 the app had taken off. Now with its story feature and filter features the app has over 100 million active users. Now it is dominating the market alongside Facebook and Instagram but in a very different way.
This idea of a image that can be seen for 10 seconds and then disappears made it a perfect way to sext. Sexting is the sending of nude or semi nude images digitally typically through mobile phone devices. As the number of teens with smartphones increases this type of activity is becoming more prevalent amongst young people. The idea that this image is never going to be seen again makes it all the more appealing to younger generations to send these types of images when the may not otherwise have. Snapchat has changed the way we perceive ourselves and the images we take of ourselves by having an outlet that can be used without the risk of this image getting into the wrong hands. Loopholes do exist with the ability to screenshot images, however the sender is notified when this happens. However, third party apps did arise to get around this.
Creator Evan Spiegel doesn’t believe that sexting on Snapchat is a big issue stating that
“I’m not convinced that the whole sexting thing is as big as the media makes it out to be… I just don’t know people who do that. It doesn’t seem that fun when you can have real sex”
An article by Kashmir Hill called ‘ Three Good Reasons Not To Send Nudes Via Snapchat’ puts the his views of sexting through Snapchat in a negative light by stating that;
- The statistical features of Snapchat such as your “best friends”, who are the people you send snaps to the most and the number of snaps you have sent “gamify” sexting.
- The loophole in which a recipient is able to screenshot a snap and is then free to distribute the photo without your control
- Snapchat encourages blog such as ‘Snapchat Sluts’ in which nude photos sent on Snapchat are willingly submitted to a blog
Generally the idea of sexting on Snapchat can be seen as a moral panic amongst older generations. However, it has become so common amongst the younger generations that the concept barely phases us. So is sexting on Snapchat as scandalous as it is thought to be? Has the shift in the way we take selfies affected us for the worse?
As we move further into a digital age, as well as, having a generational shift in the way we view ourselves and our bodies platforms such as Snapchat only aid the inevitable practice of sexting. Selfies have become a way of expressing ourselves and the nude selfie is now an extension of that.
Hill, K 2012, ‘Three Good Reasons Not To Send Nude Photos Via Snapchat’, Forbes.com, p. 38.
Rodríguez, K., 2016. SnapCHAT: The Genre of the Vanishing Memoir. GRASSROOTS WRITING RESEARCH JOURNAL, p.55.
Poltash, Nicole A.. Richmond Journal of Law & Technology , Summer2013, Vol. 19 Issue 4, p1-24, 24p. Publisher: Richmond Journal of Law & Technology