Tag Archive: Snapchat

  1. Things You Can't Do By Yourself

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    Dear Rebecca,

    My ex-girlfriend just watched my snap story. I know my story is good, but our breakup was bad. What does this mean, and what should I do about it?


    Receiving Mixed Messages

    Dear Mixed,

    Well that’s a millennial question if I ever read one.

    First, until you’ve figured out her motivation, don’t watch her story or open any snapchats you might receive from her. Ignoring a snapchat is a power play (akin to turning “read receipts” on, and then reading your texts but not responding).

    Before you assume that she’s hoping to get back together, you need to figure out the likelihood that she watched your story by accident. Check to make sure that she has watched your story’s every frame. Maybe her finger hovered too close to the screen, but she stopped watching as soon as she realized her mistake. If she watched only a few frames but not the entire thing, then this is probably the explanation. You should sigh and move on.

    (As an aside, recently, a friend of mine considered deleting his snap story because he thought he had lost viewers between the first and second frames. If you experience the same issue, you should probably work on timing. Make the plot more dramatic and raise the stakes with shorter snaps.)

    But if your ex has watched all eight frames of your current story, then that’s intentional. And yes, she could be pining after you, especially if she does this every single time you upload a story. If this is the case, you could test the waters by sending a personal snap. Try to see what’s up: Maybe she’s feeling like Taylor Swift in “I Wish You Would.” Or stay strong and remember that you are never ever getting back together, because you probably broke up for a lot of good reasons.

    Or maybe she’s just bored and doesn’t think you’re going to care that much if she views your story. Maybe she just wanted to see what you were up to and observe your life from the safe distance of your snap story.

    This is quite possibly the most logical explanation. So, if you’re this obsessed with knowing that she watched your story, you should probably check your own feelings. Are you over her? Or are you dying to watch her snap story? If the latter, snapchat just won’t help you figure out these emotions.

    And finally, there is one more possible explanation: she might be snapchat-illiterate, with no idea that you can see who has watched your story. If this is the case, then thank God you’re not together anymore. Evoke the Lady Antebellum song “Better Off Now (That You’re Gone)” in your next snap story, and don’t even take the time check who’s watched it.

    I’ll watch your story if you’ll watch mine,


    P.S. My ex-boyfriend just updated his snap story with some videos of exam studying, and I watched every frame. I wonder if that’ll keep him up at night. (I kind of hope it does.)

    Hey Rebecca,

    How do you tell a girl that all you want to do is take her out to a casual but still nice dinner, split a dessert and then watch a RomCom with her?


    I just want to listen to you talk about your dog

    Dear Just,

    Here are some suggestions (in order of personal preference): Ask her in person, text, email, call or try Facebook Messenger.

    But if you’re really asking about how to find a girl: My dog’s name is Roxy, I love Kitchen Zinc, I’d even watch a horror flick just to cuddle with you and you can find my email at the bottom of this column.

    Waiting for your call,


    Dear Rebecca,

    I want to like art so I seem cultured to my friends/romantic prospects, but it is really hard for me to get into it.

    How do I make museums exciting? What are your favorites?

    Thanks in Advance,

    Cultured Like A Petri Dish

    Dear Petri,

    I don’t know who you’re trying to impress, but you kind of sound like a jerk. If you simply don’t like art, why force yourself? I’m sure you’re passionate about other things, and that these things make you seem worldly, cool and fun.

    But if you’re dead set on finding a way to love art, you gotta find a buddy. Personally, I’m usually able to get excited about anything by listening to someone who’s super passionate talk about it. That’s why I end up taking classes like Textiles of Asia, and that’s why I love watching documentaries. People who really care can make anything incredible.

    So, choose a friend who you find really cultured, and go to stuff with them. I actually am really passionate about art, and I love dragging my friends to museums with me. Just this week I went to an exhibition opening in New York City and brought a friend along. I think we had fun (but maybe it was just the third glass of wine). If you don’t have any friends, the student guides at the Yale Center for British Art or the gallery guides at the Yale University Art Gallery will pretend to be your friends for an hour. And during that hour they’ll teach you about art. That’s a win-win, in my opinion.

    Or, if you want to seem really offbeat and interesting, you can do it alone. Find some random materials in the Beinecke or works on paper from the Prints and Drawings collection at the YCBA. You can request to have them pulled and get up close and personal with the old stuff. I promise that’ll give you a go-to conversation topic for when you want to sound like you’re cultured.

    If you really want the insider scoop about art on campus, I’ll even a share a secret with you: The coolest art space on campus is the Furniture Study at 149 York. It’s like IKEA from the olden days, but you don’t have to assemble anything. They have tours at 12:30 p.m. every Friday. Go now, thank me later.

    But Petri, you seem to be into taking shortcuts. So what’s the TL;DR, you might ask? My next tour at the YCBA is on Nov. 14 at 2:30 p.m., and I’d love to be your friend for an hour.

    Artfully yours,


    Have more questions?

    Email WKNDanswers@gmail.com or submit them anonymously here.

  2. Snapchat and the Real Me

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    We all understand the existential threats posed by social media: how its ubiquity is shortening our attention spans, making us anxious and depressed, eroding monogamy and family values, forcing us to see how much fun stupid Karen is having at her stupid parties — the list goes on. Snapchat, however, stands apart. Unlike Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, Snapchat foregrounds something we have always known about human selfhood: its nonexistence.

    For most smartphone users, Snapchat is integral to the smartphone experience. It occupies a distinct space from the other principal photo-sharing app, Instagram, both because Snapchat content is deleted after viewing and because it can be selectively shared. Because ’Grams live forever, it is expected that they are aesthetically pleasing. The structure of the app reinforces this: The cornerstone of Instagram is the filter, designed to make photos as beautiful as possible. With Instagram, everyone is an artist: Snap a pic of a cloud, throw a filter on it (not Kelvin, obviously, because that looks #ridiculous) and pray that you cross the popularity threshold, past which Instagram lists your likes as a number rather than as a series of names.

    Snaps, by contrast, are all about the content of the photos themselves. They are not saved, so aesthetics are unimportant. The main embellishments on Snapchat are captions; while there are filters, they are so meager and pathetic compared to Instagram’s wealth of photo-editing power as to be saddening. Snaps are often humorous, conveying your quirky, idiosyncratic life, which means that there’s a lot of “look at how much we’re drinking and how crazy we are” content (college, amirite?). As such, there’s very little overlap: A Snap is rarely a ’Gram, and vice versa.

    The crucial difference between Snapchat and Instagram (as well as Facebook), however, is in the way photos are shared. On Instagram and Facebook, you share content with all of your Friends. On Snapchat, you select to whom you’re sending each picture. This grants you the freedom to take and share pictures that not everyone in your network would appreciate.

    For example, when I came across a lone cupcake sitting on the sidewalk of Elm Street last Wednesday, my first instinct, obviously, was to Snap it (caption: “sum1’s ready 2 party 2nite”). I then had to make a decision: Who of my 49 Snapchat friends (50 if you include Team Snapchat) should receive it? The Snap represented a distinct sense of humor that my friend Thomas (username: givememilkPLZ) certainly appreciates, but perhaps not Annie (username: thisisnottherealannie), to whom I show a goofier sensibility. Instead, I sent her a Snap of a bottle of Dubra (caption: new bestie [two men holding hands emoji]), which I would not send to Thomas, who doesn’t drink. As in life, I never reveal my whole self in Snapchats.

    In this way, Snapchat is customized exactly to my tastes. People only send me things that they think I would appreciate. Snapchat allows me to present a different version of myself to everyone I know. Sending Snaps is an act of self-creation: When I scroll through my list of Snapchat friends trying to decide who would appreciate a picture of a coffee cup I have drawn a face on, I am deciding which version of me — what sense of humor, what values, what worldview — I want to share. What consistently shocks me is how stark these variations are. While everyone knows that we act differently with our family, with authority figures and with our friends, we generally consider how we act with our friends to be our “true selves.” Our choice of Snapchat recipients shows that even among our closest friends, we make distinctions, constantly presenting alternate selves, tailoring ourselves to others’ expectations. Selfhood is illusory: I show a different “real me” with each Snap.

    Snapchat is therefore the best imitator of real life that we have. None of the “one-personality-fits-all” nonsense of Instagram and Facebook, where you are pressured with presenting one coherent self/brand to the world: On those platforms, what your best friend sees is also what cute Josh from physics sees, which is also what your uncle sees. In real life, I do not present the same person to everyone, or anyone — I make minute alterations in what I say, how I say it, and my accompanying physicality. The types of Snaps I send and to whom I send them, show far more than my Instagram feed ever could. Who are we, then, but amalgamations of Snaps, each revealing one of many shifting components that make up our identities?

  3. My iPhone, My Precious

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    I fantasize about chucking my iPhone off a cliff. Sharp rocks split its screen as it tumbles into oblivion. I’m certain that I would feel better without it. But when my fantasy came true and my phone fell in a toilet I’d just pooped in, I frantically fished it out, cleaned it off and rushed it to the Apple Store for a replacement.

    I am disturbed by the attachment I have to my phone. If I am in its proximity, I feel like Frodo carrying the One Ring around his neck, consumed in its power. My phone is not mine; rather, I belong to it. It is the first thing I look at in the morning and the last thing I look at before I fall asleep. I can’t make it through an hour-long class without checking my alerts at least once. As the day wears on, I develop an anxiety about my battery percentage. I go home just to charge it, or at the very least, I bum a charger off a friend like a cigarette.

    Smart phones are supposed to be tools that make our lives easier. I do use my phone to look up facts, check train times and find biking directions. But that’s not where my battery goes. It goes to the moments where I post an Instagram photo and refresh six times in the next three minutes to check for likes. It goes to the eight times I toggle mindlessly between the hourly and daily forecast on my weather app. It goes to the articles I skim and the time I spend rearranging the icons on my home screen.

    My battery goes to Facebook. How does Facebook get to me to spend so much time reading updates from people whose daily activities I don’t give a shit about? Why do I know so much about the job search of that guy I met at Borders in 2008, or about my high school friend’s ex-boyfriend’s cat? The most shameful part is how much time I spend staring at my own profile. I become obsessed with the timeline of my own life, and what it looks like to my 1,000 friends. But to what end?

    When I’m in my phone, I’m not in the world anymore. Yes, I learn things from my constant connection to the Internet. But I don’t experience anything. Sometimes when I become depressed, all I need to do to feel better is leave my phone in the house and go a day without it.

    So I do try to resist. If I can’t leave my phone at home, I uninstall my Facebook app, or change the password to something impossible to remember, and log out. I let my battery die. I bury it in the bottom of my backpack. I hide it in the living room while I sleep.

    It sucks that I need it so much. Certain services like Uber are only available on smartphone apps. Without a cell phone, I’d never be the first to claim tickets to see a famous person speak on campus, and I’ll never have the Fastest//Fingers//First when the YDN sends out pitches. I can’t even fathom how people made plans before cell phones. If I didn’t have a cell phone, how would I find someone to go with me to Woad’s?

    I’m worried for myself, and I’m worried for us. It’s untenable to think that our attachment to smartphones will ever loosen. I do have faith that people are bigger than these mere inventions, but when we stare at a sunset through a Mayfair filter, or zone out from a party to send a Snapchat, we’re only getting smaller.

    Sometimes when I look up from my phone it feels like I’m seeing the world for the first time. Seeing it the way it’s supposed to be seen. But I always look back down. I even constantly search for custom phone cases online that will match my outfits.