North Texas Daily

Snap to it: Lingering data has potential to embarass

Snap to it: Lingering data has potential to embarass

Snap to it: Lingering data has potential to embarass
September 11
22:49 2013

Christina Ulsh / Senior Staff Writer

Self destruction is one quality that is not common among social media sites. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube—the world can see it unless somebody consciously deletes it.

Snapchat is defying the boundaries set by previous modes of communication. The phone app allows users to take photos or videos, which can then be doodled on or captioned.

Users are then able to either save their work or send it to whoever is in their friend’s catalog. After 2 to 10 seconds, though, the message disappears.

While Snapchat advertises on its website as a way for friends to capture moments and share ugly “selfies,” the innocent uses of the app are under speculation.

“The immediate response to Snapchat was ‘Oh, this is a way for kids to sext each other and Mom and Dad can’t find out about it,” journalism lecturer Samra Bufkins said.

The promise of snaps being completely obliterated is also flawed. Screenshots, a picture taken of what is on a phone’s screen, are still functional on this app. Various YouTube videos also show users how they can retrieve expired snaps from within their phones.

“It’s bound to stay on a server somewhere. And that’s the dangerous thing about the Internet,” Bufkins said. “People think when something gets deleted, it’s gone.”

A Google search of “leaked Snapchats” yielded 234,000 results. Twitters and blogs dedicate their space to both raunchy and comical snap photographs.

“There’s a potential ethical dilemma with using everything. And that’s because there’s nothing wrong with any of these technologies,” Bufkins said. “But like anything, it’s the way people use them.”

Bufkins questioned the point of such an ephemeral app.

“When I do use it, I usually snapchat something weird that usually you wouldn’t see just hanging out at Fry Street or whatever,” English senior Jordan Palmer said.

Palmer said she gets plenty of snaps of people’s dogs.

“Whatever people find interesting themselves, they usually think that the other people they hang out with will find it interesting too,” she said.

Biology, Spanish and RTVF senior Mohammad Khan is not amused by the app he said his friends made him get.

“They’re not fun. [Snaps are] like someone riding a bike or something normal. It’s nothing exciting,” Khan said. “It’s not like I like or hate it, I just don’t use it.”

Communications junior Cameron Trevino does not have the app but is familiar with its premise.

“To me it seems like a social-Instagram-new-way of texting just to laugh about, because every snapchat thing I’ve seen is comedy related,” he said.

Snapchat is available to Android and iPhone holders above the age of 13.

“It’s fascinating, it’s horrifying, it’s fun,” Bufkins said. “I just have not yet seen evidence of any useful business use for it.”

Feature photo courtesy of

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