By: Ishan Goel 7/1/2016
This morning when your teen woke up, the first thing they probably wanted to do was check their “streaks.” Opening the Snapchat app on their smartphone, they were annoyed by a message popping up over and over saying that the app was not connecting to the network. They probably tried to log out, delete the app and download it again. They restarted their phone—but the problem is still there.
At this point, he or she likely abandoned ship realizing the fact that this huge world-wide app—and huge part of their social lives—was down.
Seven out of 10 millennials use Snapchat. Snapchat gets more video views than Facebook and has more users than Twitter. And it really isn’t a surprise as to why the app is so popular.
Snapchat generates the feeling that the person you are sending photos and short videos to is right there with you. The self-deleting-after-24-hours “stories” keep friends posted on important events—and day-to-day humdrum—of each other’s lives no matter where they are. Snapchat provides instant contact through these stories, direct photos and videos, and instant messages.
But with Snapchat down, what now…smoke signals?
DFW Mag has interviewed several teens and this is what they have to say about the app.
“Without Snapchat I feel like I’m missing something.” – Jake Rehfuss, Dallas, Texas
“Snapchat allows me to connect with my friends across the world and let them know exactly what I’m doing with the touch of a button” – Ryan MacDonald, Coppell, Texas
So it comes down to what happens when institutions fail. For teens and millennials across the world, when the institution of Snapchat was down, they felt severely uninformed and alone—in modern jargon, “FOMO,”* because they couldn’t connect to friends.
*FOMO is an acronym for “fear of missing out,” defined by Dictionary.com as “a feeling of anxiety or insecurity over the possibility of missing out on something, as an event or an opportunity.”
Sometimes an event like this helps us snap back to reality and really helps us notice how much we depend on something so small as a mobile app. Getting out with family and friends, camping and really heading out to a place where your cellphone doesn’t work once or twice a month really helps. Many parents take their family camping at least once a year for a week to help them escape the trap of a cellphone and encourage them to connect with nature.