By Cara Winkley
Imagine if you could send funny, embarrassing, even dirty pictures to friends without them being saved or used as blackmail later in life. Well, there’s an app for that.
Snapchat is an app that allows users to send pictures and videos that are automatically deleted after they are opened. Senders can choose an amount of time anywhere from one to 10 seconds. Originally thought of by a fraternity member to solve the problem of regretting embarrassing texts or sexts, Snapchat is now used by 18.6 percent of iphone users in the U.S. according to Onavo’s App rank, an online ranking website.
Snapchat was created by 23 year old Evan Spiegel for a product design class. After presenting the idea to his class and seeing their reactions, he released the app to the public a few months after in September 2011. The app is available for iphone, and android users.
While students all over the country have embraced and have come to use Snapchat as part of their daily lives, many are worried about where those snapchats really go once they leave your phone.
Jaclyn Bitto, a senior from Chicago has her concerns about the app.
“Even though they say it gets deleted, I worry they might use it somehow,” Bitto said.
Students using Snapchat should know that unopened Snapchats are stored into the company’s Google cloud and remain there until they are opened and deleted. If the files are not opened, they remain on the company’s server for 30 days before being deleted.
Some students don’t use Snapchat because they haven’t heard a lot about it. Rebeka Luttinger is one of the students asked of the few who don’t have Snapchat.
“I don’t even know how it works,” Luttinger said.
Snapchat is different from other social media in that it is private. Snapchat does not store any history or information about its users like other apps like Facebook and Twitter. The company knows nothing about its users.
Alex Prather, a senior from Derby, Kan., uses Snapchat about once a day. She chooses to use Snapchat instead of other social media platforms to connect with new friends.
“Snapchat seems more personal than adding someone on Facebook or Twitter because you choose to send them pictures.” Prather said.
She likes that she doesn’t have to flood peoples’ Facebook news feed when she wants to share pictures with her friends. The fact that you can personalize your pictures makes it more fun.
While Snapchat can be fun and innocent between friends, many raise concerns about sexting, especially because a lot of Snapchat users are under the age of 18. Just recently, 10 boys were arrested in Canada for distributing explicit photos of teenage girls through the app.
“For our age, I say go for it,” said Bitto. “But for those under 18, that shouldn’t be allowed.”
Snapchat is not just another iphone app fad. Spiegel recently turned down two billion dollar offers in hopes that he can continue to grow and expand Snapchat into his own empire.
“I’m excited for Snapchat’s future,” said Bitto. “I hope they continue to come up with cool ideas.”