Snapchat: a glimmer of authenticity in the realm of social media

In contrast to Facebook and Instagram, Snapchat isn't about showcasing perfection. It's about spontaneity and "living in the moment," says one researcher.

Fleeting nature of a Snap encourages spontaneity, downplays need for perfection, says Rachelle Ann Tan

Rachelle Ann Tan, graduate student at the University of Victoria, says Snapchat is a step away from perfection and toward "real life" on social media. (CBC)

Snapchat may be the closest thing we've got to "real life" on social media, says one academic. 

In contrast to Facebook and InstagramSnapchat isn't about curating the best moments of your life and showcasing them.

Snapchat posts ultimately self-destruct, sometimes after just 10 seconds.

Because of that, the app doesn't exert the same pressure to be perfect, or collect likes, comments or shares, said Rachelle Ann Tan, a graduate student at the University of Victoria. 

"Its ephemeral nature appeals to this living in the moment, being spontaneous and not really being worried about who's going to see this," Tan said.

Users may also feel less inhibited because it's less likely a post will come back to haunt them, she added.

Enjoy it while it lasts

Tan presented her research on how Snapchat is changing the way we value image at the 2016 Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences happening now in Calgary.

"Knowing that it's all temporary, we actually want to take a closer look, just because we know that it's going to disappear," Tan said.

"There seems to be a lot more value in that sense."

With Snapchat, what matters is simply that someone else has taken the time to look at what you've sent them, Tan said.

"Taking the time to open and view the snaps that your friends have sent you has become almost synonymous with participating in your friends' lived experience."

With files from The Homestretch