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My Snapchat story

| Friday, November 9, 2018

A list of things I am not proud of:

  1. When I was five years old, I got distracted during church and carved my name into the pew with my cross. As the only “Julianna” in the Orange County Greek Orthodox community, there was no question who the vandal in question was.
  2. During Welcome Weekend, I accidentally told someone from Miami I would rather lose a limb than go to Florida.
  3. I didn’t wear makeup all day, but just put on mascara to Snapchat someone about chemistry homework.

While Notre Dame technology has been under attack this past month for its stance on porn (or lack thereof), I think the true atrocity is the way students on campus communicate with each other.

When I came to college, I imagined myself exchanging numbers with witty people in my classes, calling people on the phone, receiving professional emails from organizations and residence hall staff. I did not expect myself pulling out my phone to scan the Snapcode of some girl whose last name I don’t even know.

So far, to my knowledge, it seems that almost everyone at Notre Dame prefers Snapchat to text when getting to know someone. You go to a party, you smile and tell people what dorm you’re from, what state you belong to. You make a cliche joke about never seeing snow fall from the sky. You share a commiserating laugh about the hardships of time management. And then, like clockwork, you take out your phone to add them on Snapchat.

Who are these people? Will I see them again? Do I want to see them again? I don’t even care about my actual friends’ snapchat stories, now I have to scroll through theirs too? If I actually snap them is that weird? If I don’t snap them is it rude? Should I do the thing where I just photograph our surroundings because it’s easier than determining a good angle for my face? Or is that weird too and practically screams “I’m insecure!!” — which I am, but don’t necessarily want proclaimed to the kid who sits behind me in math?

More than anything else, the real issue is that these people are never dynamic “snappers.” I am not opposed to friendship. I am not opposed to striking up a conversation with someone new. But while I am nothing if not an extrovert, a conversation is nothing if not of substance.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of Snapchat. I love receiving a pretty sunset snap or a clever joke about a professor, but I have strangers sending low-quality pictures of their faces from unflattering angles. Without captions! Why is this acceptable? Who decided to do away with the “chat” part of the snapchat?! And now, of course, I have nothing to say in return — after all, exactly what response does a nostril shot of someone you just met warrant — so I just send a picture of my face back. And then they send their faces. Instead of getting to know each other, we are just repeatedly establishing what we look like to one another. If we see each other in the hallway, we can be confident we know who each other are but we’ll have nothing to say.

I’ve tried to deal with the madness for the sake of social interaction. I really have. During Welcome Weekend, I sent whimsical snaps of me eating cereal and ice cream for dinner. But then a kid replied with a picture of him doing double finger guns and all I could think was that he felt so confident I wanted to see his pose that he enlisted a third party to take the picture.

If you’re my friend, by all means, continue to send me 4 a.m. snaps of you in the library. I appreciate hearing from you. If we just met, let’s have a conversation in person before showing me how messy your dorm room is.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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