Posts Tagged ‘snapchat’

THE GOOD GHOSTS OF SNAPCHAT

Friday, January 10th, 2014

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I don’t know if you have realized it, but if you look carefully at The Dick Van Dyke Show, you might notice that the star-couple does not share a bed. In fact, married couples did not sleep in the same bed until 1952 on American television, which is totally ridiculous. [1]

Things change in our culture and many weird things we are unsure we want to welcome suddenly become our reality. Here comes the Verysmartphone 5.3, with all of the internets for you to have and carry with all the time! The facebooks, the twitters!! Everything. And ew, you have Snapchat? What are you, a weird pedophile or, like, a huge slut?

Well I am neither, and I love Snapchat.

My entire immediate family lives in a country far, far away, in a small place called “Greece.” I don’t get to see them often, so it was great to have my mom and sister come visit over Christmas. We fought so much! It was amazing. But also, I made my sister download Snapchat. This has been the best thing for our relationship since I have emigrated from Greece and away from my family.

My sister is the kind of person who does not use social media the way I do. It is not a place for her to bitch about how adulthood is probably when you start washing your french press before you need to reuse it. We have a different sense of what is publicly acceptable as an extension of one’s self. This is where Snapchat comes in, I think. She is no longer preoccupied with appearing a certain way, even to me. There is a vehement liberation from the anxiety or stress some feel over the perfection a “permanent” record of a picture or note “must” leave; it is a weird empowering liminality that arrives with the immateriality of the Snapchat application.

An important detail to emphasize is that my sister is also not the kind of person to gchat or verbally engage with me meaningfully online. She might be more of a visual communicator. I do not know for sure, but that is what the past month has shown me. And I am so happy in this little unimportant—yet so, so important—discovery. I can look at the video she sent me of her walking towards her boyfriend’s Ducati, and I can feel close to her. I still haven’t met her boyfriend, but I kinda know how he makes her feel and this technology has given me a sense of intimacy I didn’t know was possible. (Sister’s boyfriend is also the President of the Ducati Club in Greece, and for that alone, from my standpoint, they’re meant to be!)

With Snapchat, my sister can have separate beds in a public sphere, and if that is what she wants it should be respected. But it is nice to no longer feel as away from her as I really have been.

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[1] First shared bed thing was actually in 1947, but the couple was married IRL and it was before TV was really TV, just in case someone wants to split hairs.

Snapchat, the Opera

Wednesday, August 28th, 2013

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I take out my iPhone to start filming us in bed. Turned on my side, with my elbow bent to prop my head up with one of my hands, the other hand holding my phone. Through the screen I can see a close up shot of Adam’s nose and mouth. I pull back to see his entire face. I look beyond my phone to see his full body laying out in front of me. Adam starts to perform:

“Hi Lucy”

“What? [laughter] She’s not going to see this.”

“Isn’t this a Snapchat?”

“It’s not a Snapchat”

“You’ve been making Snapchats all morning and then you go and switch it up on me!”

“You can’t be so presumptuous”

“I’m hiding under here… For forever or until your battery runs out.”

“I brought my charger today”

“Ok, until your phone runs out of space.”

“My phone has unlimited space for embarrassing videos of you.”

“Oh my god… you’re adding this thing to our life. It’s like this wild animal. A barracuda.”

“I don’t understand.  The camera’s a barracuda?”

“Yeah”

“There’s an interesting passage about cameras in this [Immortality by Milan Kundera]. There’s like this whole chapter about being watched and how when you’re filmed your self is taken away from you and put in the control of someone else.”

“You’re stealing my soul.”

“I mean, your self exists in the camera now. It’s fragmented.”

“I don’t know… I think people change when the camera comes on. You’re not the same.”

“I think so too but I think that’s part of yourself. I don’t think that change draws from something outside of yourself.”

“Yeah, but it [the camera] obfuscates it.”

“I feel like whenever I feel obligated to turn on a personality its always based on something I wish I was naturally, or how I think I need to be in the situation, and I don’t think that… I think that the fact that I’m able to draw on that personality and bring it out on command says that its always been a part of me. I’m relying on scripts and commands that I can recall for specific instances.”

“But that’s only if you’re a good actor. I feel like I just shut down. I’m not as good.”

“Yeah?”

‘The part of me that’s not as self-conscious is gone.”

“Oh here it is…

[From Immortality by Milan Kundera]

‘It was a meaningless episode: some sort of congress was taking place in the hotel and a photographer had been hired so that the scholars who had assembled from all parts of the world would be able to buy souvenir pictures of themselves. But Agnés could not beat the idea that somewhere there remained a document testifying to her acquaintance with the man she had met there; she returned to the hotel the next day, bought up all her photos (showing her at the man’s side, with one arm extended across her face), and tried to secure the negatives, too; but those had been filed away by the picture agency and were already unobtainable. Even though she wasn’t in any real danger, she could not rid herself of anxiety because one second of her life, instead of dissolving into nothingness like all the other seconds of life, would remain torn out of the course of time and some stupid coincidence could make it come back to haunt her like the badly buried dead.’

Is that how you feel about this video [laughter]?”

“I mean, I feel like its definitely ruining my life. Slowly.”

“That’s funny. I feel only positive about being recorded and documented.”

“You were like a theatre major! This is like your shit! You’ve got your reading voice on, you’re good to go.”

“Am I doing my reading voice right now?”

“No, but you were.”

“But that’s different. I was reading.”

“Remember when you turned on the camera the other day and immediately went into your recording voice?… Are you still recording?”

“Yeah.”

“Oh no…”

“I think its different though.”

“How do you mean?”

“I mean, I’m the one recording you. Not some omniscient, malevolent entity. Its an intimate moment and we have control in it.”

“But its not an intimate moment.”

“Just because the camera is there?”

(more…)