Snapchat gets backlash

CHRISTIAN HARTSELLE | OPINION COLUMNIST

Relationships at Butler will have to be based on trust and not a “Best Friends” list now that Snapchat released its game-changing update. The update includes adding friends by scanning someone else’s personalized Snapchat ghost, a “Discover” section with media from a number of outlets and the infamous change that sparked the most reaction from students: the removal of the ability to see others’ Best Friends.

Screenshot courtesy of Christian Hartselle

Screenshot courtesy of Christian Hartselle

Freshman Tyler Ramsey said he hates the update so far.

“You can’t see other people’s Best Friends, and I don’t like that there is a My Story section and a separate contact section,” Ramsey said. “It seems like more work. I also don’t like the Discover thing. I will never use it.”

Alternatively, freshman Tara Eubanks said she thinks Snapchat could have implemented the change in a better way.

“It may have been easier if Snapchat made the option of showing your Best Friends or not, instead of getting rid of them completely,” said Eubanks.

The update made the smart choice of placing the Discover feature two swipes to the left — you do not have to use it if you do not want to, and it is easy to ignore if that is the case. However, I will argue that you are missing out on innovative mobile content.

Snapchat has expanded from its beginnings of simple picture-messaging to a plethora of useful, and sometimes odd, features. You can send temporary graphics-covered “snaps,” use video chat, send temporary messages, send money, view snap stories, watch live feeds, glance at world happenings, catch up on Snapchat’s original web series Literally Can’t Even, read about animals on National Geographic and watch featured news on CNN. But despite all these cool new features, most students are still hung up on the inability to see Best Friends.

As a fan of the update, I always thought it was strange that everything on the application was incredibly private and temporary except for the fact that you could see your friends’ Best Friends. Within the concept of the app, it does make more sense that Best Friends are not public anymore.

Snapchat was released in 2011 by a Stanford student, who meant it to be the antithesis to the public nature of sites such as Facebook and Instagram, which force users to create an online identity. Snapchat is more personal, and users of the app can do whatever they want without a trace on their records. The legacy of the app fits with this long-deserved change.

Snapchat Best Friends was built on an algorithm detailing three people you have communicated with the most within the previous seven days. Butler students would check their significant others’ Best Friends to ensure they were being faithful, or to simply see if their crush was talking to other people. With the removal of this feature, those days are over.

And it is certainly for the better. Relationships that rely on a paranoid check of social media are not stable in the first place, and this change should eliminate the stress students feel when viewing who their crushes and friends snap more than themselves, especially since we all know those Best Friends lists often seemed inaccurate, anyway.

Sophomore Lily Pickett’s views match mine the most clearly.

“I know that lots of people were upset about losing the ability to see their friends’ top friends,” she said. “Personally, I think that is not the main purpose of Snapchat. Within a couple of weeks people will move on.”

Just as Snapchat users adapted to and enjoyed new features in the past, this update will be no different. No other application is as fun or as ingrained in youth culture as Snapchat. Everything you send is gone in a blink, and while that intuitively seems like a bad thing, it is beautifully more similar to communication in real life.

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