Arts, Featured Column, Column

Snapchat Is So #College

I want to talk about Snapchat. Don’t roll your eyes at me. I’m serious.

But before we do that, I want to debut some of my social media theories. Twitter is like Stokes. There’re a bunch of little classrooms. You get to more or less pick the content, and sometimes the people. Sometimes a professor or speaker visits, and we’ll call that an advertisement. If Twitter is a web of small, personalized classrooms, then Facebook is like a big convention—let’s say Lower Live to keep this analogy #college. And over the years, these two have begun to blur together. Facebook adopted hashtags. Twitter replaced “favorite” with “like.” It makes sense, the two blurring together. It’s not and never has been, “Neither can live while the other survives.” It’s more, “Let’s bring people together in the virtual world, and since neither of us are going anywhere for the foreseeable future, let’s do it with minimal dissonance.”

I’ll digress from our main assault to mention Instagram. Instagram are those quotes and pics you throw up on your dorm door. Okay, check mark. Let’s move on.

Where does Snapchat fall into all this? It may be murkier than I first thought, so let’s back up. Social media is a way in which we share and consume. On Facebook and Twitter, we share interesting articles, our weekends, our thoughts and prayers, dogs, and indulgent columns. And then everyone goes about consuming said indulgent columns and whatever piece of ourselves we put out there. If I have 30 minutes to burn before class, I can spend that time watching 30 Rock or I can just as easily or as likely spend that time scrolling through Facebook. I can consume Tina Fey, or I can consume … you. One has commercials, the other keeps reminding me that I should totally buy Rome Total War 2.  I know this whole “explaining social media” section has probably been obnoxious, but I want us to all be on the same page.

More than Facebook or Twitter, Snapchat has always felt more intimate, uncomfortably intimate. When I get a snap of my buddy’s inner thigh that reads “sup,” I know it was probably meant for me. It’s people at their weirdest and best. It’s through Snapchat that my buddies and I can communicate in the bizarre ways only friends can.

Snap stories, though, would have you believe that you should have gone to the hockey game Tuesday night, that the you can dance your problem set away, that Gasson is, like, a stone-cold 10. And I guess you can make compelling arguments for each of those, though my problem set days are long gone. But for the most part, on the Boston College Snap Story at least, you’ll find people being happy. Happy about BC or the food they’re about to eat—it doesn’t matter. The message is this is what you should be doing. This is who you should be. In this way, Snapchat isn’t a creative means for conversation, but a way to tell a story. And it matters what people and institutions use stories for, and if the stories are honest and true, because they’re being consumed by us all, just like Tina Fey’s stuff.

I think there’s a difference between talking and “consuming each other.” One is good. The other sounds like cannibalism. Cannibalism is bad for digestion. It’s like a flat top, #college.

I love social media. I’ve checked Twitter four times as I’ve written this column, to read about the Rams’ offensive line and film stuff. So where does Snapchat lie in our #college analogy? I think I promised you an answer. Snapchat is #college.

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November 4, 2015