When Snapchat was released in 2011, everyone assumed it was just a safe way to sext, since the photos and vids disappear after a few seconds. If you’ve spent any time on your phone recently, you know that’s just not the case. Since its release, it’s become a key player in the social media game. In fact, it might even be making you happier and more comfortable with yourself.
There have been studies claiming that spending too much time on Facebook can put a damper on your mood, largely due to FOMO. Just when you think you’re having the best Saturday morning ever—rays of sunshine beaming in, wrapped in freshly laundered sheets, coffee and almond milk in an Anthropologie mug—you turn to Instagram and bam! somebody has all of that and the cutest puppy ever, so they just one-upped you. Go on, you know you’re going to double tap anyway. Life gets competitive and complicated when everyone documents their life in such a perfectly polished, curated way. It takes a lot of willpower and positive self-talk to remember that Instagram is not a popularity contest or a fashion show or a beauty pageant.
That’s why this recent Snapchat study is so exciting. Snapchat has a more positive effect on our moods than Facebook, Instagram, etc., according to a study out of the University of Michigan. When researchers studied 154 college students, they found that students considered their time on Snapchat more rewarding than any other form of social media, and only second to an IRL convo. They say this is because the app reduces “presentational concerns” (read: you’re much more chill about how you look) and it keeps people connected in a fun, spontaneous way that doesn’t look try-hard. The lead researcher, Joseph Bayer, explained in a press release that while Facebook is a place for big moments, like weddings, Snapchat is about sharing the little moments and simple pleasures, like that plate of nachos you just devoured—broken chips, sloppy salsa and all.
With less pressure to look your best, you don’t have to find the right lighting or think of a funny caption or use a couple photo editing apps before posting. In our current world, where everything seems permanent and subject to ridicule, the temporary nature of this app might be what makes us so willing to actually be ourselves in our Snapchat stories.
So keep snapping your morning runs and lip-syncing videos. You’ll be happier for it.
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