The first thing I do when I wake up is check my iPhone. I look at emails, Instagram (to see if my beautifully-frothed cappuccino received more likes overnight), Facebook (do any of my friends have birthdays today?), and finally, Snapchat. I admit that since I don't have kids I have a few extra minutes (hours?) in the morning to take care of the social business of liking pictures and commenting on statuses, but still, it's exhausting. That's why I appreciate Snapchat.
Unlike the other image-sharing apps, the pictures sent and received over Snapchat are ephemeral. Seconds after I tap open a picture of my friend's snoozing cat, it's gone. I don't have to comment "aww," and pretend to love the animal I'm intensely allergic to, nor do I have to give it a "thumbs up" or a heart. While I can send a selfie back, drawing on cat ears with the pencil feature and adding a cat emoji on my left shoulder, replies are not expected on Snapchat. My friend's message wasn't carefully styled, edited, or filtered. It was just a short burst of her reality; her way of reminding me she's here and things are happening in her life, no matter how mundane they may be. Cue the relief for my social media envy.
Even if your friends aren't on Snapchat and you have no one to share your mommy-and-baby selfies with, you can enjoy watching live stories from around the world. Using geo-location technology, app users send images to the locally made story banks. Snapchat then curates these pictures and videos and creates a "live story" series of day-in-the-life experiences across the globe. This morning when I opened my local NYC story, I saw a series of 10-second videos from the front row of last night's Billy Joel concert at Madison Square Garden. Suddenly I'm feeling OK about staying in last night and watching Empire. Sure, going to the Billy Joel concert would have been fun, but the view I got on Snapchat was better than any seat I could afford.
Several celebrities and bloggers are also sharing stories on Snapchat. Want to feel like you were at Kim Kardashian's 35th birthday party? The whole family is on the app waiting for you to follow them. Mommyshorts.com's own Ilana Wiles signed up for Snapchat to see what all the fuss is about. "At first it was odd to see such an intimate view of someone's life, but now I look forward to certain people adding to their story," she wrote on her blog. Now she snaps her kids dancing to pop songs and running around the airport before a family vacay. Don't forget, in 24-hours those stories are gone forever.
Melissa Bykofsky is the associate articles editor at Parents who covers millennial trends and pop-culture. Follow her on Twitter: @mbykofsky.