Did you know that Snapchat’s OG name was Picaboo? Not gonna lie. That’s really cute. Did you know its creators Bobby Murphy, Reggie Brown Poster, and Evan Spiegel tested 34 projects before the release of Snapchat. The idea was highly criticized; now look at em! What about that it has 150 million users daily? Or that there are over 7 billion photos and videos sent every day? The app is second in popularity only to Facebook, who is on the hunt to buy Snapchat, rumor has it…

Beginning toward the end of July, I deleted snapchat for a multitude of reasons. For one thing, I spent waaaay too much time on it. When I was at lunch or at a friend’s house, I found that everyone’s attention was constantly being drawn away from each other’s company and into the hypnotizing array of devil filters. Common tabletop conversations: “Will someone respond to my streaks for me?” “No I don’t even want to respond to my own.” “Why do I even have a streak with this person?”  :-/

So! I decided I would take a break. Here’s what I discovered.

The first week, I received several frantic texts warning me about the infamous hourglass emoji, and disappointed responses when I told them that our nearly 500-or-so day streak would soon indeed die. If someone really needed me, they could always text, call, or see me. It’s not like I just fell off the grid entirely. I also became weirdly aware of how many times I would instinctively try to click on an app that wasn’t there anymore. That’s when I realized…holy crap was I addicted. Ironically though, it was actually surprisingly easy to let go of. I really didn’t miss it that much. Once I stopped automatically trying to open it, I spent more time looking at the world through my own eyes. I didn’t care if people knew what I was doing at every moment of my life. Instead, I felt more aware of both myself and my surroundings. I was altogether more present, especially with my friends and family. I did feel a strange twang of being left out when someone would unknowingly ask, “Did you see ___’s story?!” Even still, I had solidarity in my own sense that I was better off without it. I was in the moment. I put more time and energy into homework and other responsibilities rather than trying to make myself look decent every time I needed to take a picture. I thus became less anxious about my looks as well. Eventually, I pretty much forgot that the app existed unless people brought it up.

Now, please don’t misunderstand me. If you’re snapscore exceeds a million, or the dog filter completes your look when you’re slaying on your story, more power to ya!!!! Snapchat–and social media in general–is a fantastic way to see your pals’ faces even when you aren’t able to see them in person every day. In fact, that’s how I’ve kept tabs on if my friends in college are surviving or not (and a major reason why I re-downloaded it). I have simply learned that the app can be a major inhibitor of focus and work progression when used too frequently. Now, I only snapchat if I have something to say, or if another person needs to talk to me, and I only keep streaks with my mom and boyfriend. It’s simply a matter of self-control, and how much time you are willing to put into the app. Other than that, I log off and focus. If you feel like it, or think it might do you some good, try it out! See what you discover. 🙂