FOR & AGAINST: Snapchat

Tuesday, 29 April, 2014


Words by Joshua Green

Here’s the thing: I love a Snapchat. It might be from a close friend, a family member, or even that middle-aged African-American woman whom I haven’t had the heart to delete. I don’t really care. All I know is that I’m thankful for the weird and wonderful world that is unveiled to me through this little yellow app.

Not that long ago selfies were considered passé and the domain of the teenybopper minority (and Kevin Rudd). Not anymore. Today they are being reclaimed by the masses and to great affect.

Snaps I have received include a magical melange of drunken singing (most regularly ‘Drunk In Love’), grotesque facial expressions, and artfully rendered drawings of penises over people’s faces.Who wouldn’t want that?

For ten seconds I am privileged with a snapshot into that person’s life, a shared digital moment that breaks down any time/space division between us. We are free to let our wild side shine like a beacon to anyone on our contact list.

To those who might scoff at the Snapchat enthusiasts among us, I ask you to consider the ramifications of a world without this platform. The risk of your parents seeing you singing Justin Bieber’s ‘Baby’ atop a bed might be reduced (apologies Mum and Dad), certainly—but what else might be lost?

Snapchat is not solely for the imbibers and eccentrics. I’ve known entire relationships that have been conducted via the platform. Sending a bedtime selfie, a perfectly tousled morning selfie, even the occasional ‘bored in a lecture but still looking hot’ selfie. And while photographic traditionalists might snicker at this, I think it’s got something going for it.

As a member of Gen Y, I go mad for any new form of social media. MSN, Bebo, Facebook, Instagram,… even LinkedIn; I’ve had them all. But the real human quality is missing in all these platforms.

This is where Snapchat comes in: as the technological home base for sharing insignificant moments. An outlet for serial sexters who do not want their wobbly bits splashed across the frightening sphere that is the Facebook news feed. A digital vortex that is willing to forget the drunken shenanigans of a big night faster than you do.

This is not to suggest that Snapchat serves as some kind of Utopian platform, rekindling real human contact in the cold digital age. A dick pic does not a relationship make. However, in contrast to the highly edited, permanent realms of other social media, it is a step closer to reality. Ily Snapchat. Stay golden.


Words by Alexander Sheko

Snapchat, if left unchecked and unchallenged, will lead to nothing less than the collapse of Western civilization, if not humanity itself. I guarantee this, and plenty of my predictions have come true in the past. For example, the other day, I correctly foretold that Andrew Bolt would publish a laughable and borderline offensive editorial piece in the Herald Sun.

The first reason why Snapchat will lead to the end of life as we know it is that it promotes a frighteningly dangerous level of narcissism by encouraging its users (mostly those pesky and entitled Gen Y-ers) to pester their contemporaries with snaps (as it were) of their mundane and tedious lives. Many users even take “selfies” to send to their friends; such is the level of their self-fascination!

I once tried to take a selfie. It appeared there was something wrong with the front-facing camera on my phone so I had to do it the “old-fashioned” way. It was very awkward and I ended up dropping my phone. The fall of my phone to the ground was surely nothing but a portent of the fall of humanity that is to come because of this app.

Secondly, Snapchat discriminates against those with fingers that are less than dainty and nimble. I attempted to handwrite an amusing message earlier today, superimposed on a photograph of a bruise that was forming on my foot where I had dropped my tablet. Though a pleasant lime green, the letters were but indecipherable, triggering a traumatic flashback to being told as a child that I would fail at school, university and (presumably) life due to illegible handwriting. And handwriting practice. God, I hated that.

But this isn’t about me, of course. This is about civilization! For when we permit the marginalisation of those with clumsy fingers and inexpert fine motor skills, we basically go down the slippery slope that leads only to dystopian nightmares beyond belief.

Finally, how come nobody has sent me nudes yet? Seriously. I assumed this was a platform for the free (albeit fleeting) exchange of poor quality amateur pornography, but so far have received only pictures of a moustachioed cat and complaints about pharmacology lectures (in selfie form to convey deep angst). What a complete and utter letdown. And, of course, the whole civilizational collapse thing.

Every month, For & Against will tackle a different issue – some serious, some not so serious. If you have a debate you want to see resolved in Farrago, email us at