Snaps all around but no etiquette to be found

Rewon Shimray | Cartoonist

While Baby Boomer parents taught their children manners for every occasion ranging from the dinner table, church and the grocery store, they never spoke into the realm of social media use. Thirty percent of U.S. millenials use Snapchat regularly — even more frequently than Instagram. With Snapchat dominating much of our social lives, without any norms established by generations past, we need to have a discussion about Snapchat etiquette.

Snapchat Story Content

The unofficial limit is five posts on a story per day. More than that is borderline spam.

Some events are better experienced in person and don’t translate well over a hand-held vertically-oriented video. Concerts are one of these instances. While you have the right to post a picture announcing your opportunity to see your favorite artist, extensive video coverage is altogether unnecessary. Other occasions that are inappropriate to Snapchat are funerals, weddings and similar major life-cycle events. It is irreverent to whip out your phone during these landmark moments.

Proper Responses

The best default setting is to have your time limit set to infinity. It gives people however much time they need to really take in and ponder the profound message you have “snapped” them.

Responding to questions with a selfie and no answer is pointless. If you don’t have time in the moment to send a thorough answer, wait until you do to send one. Quality communication is much more valuable than a thoughtless exchange.

Swiping up on stories should be done in moderation. Your feedback is welcome, but not constantly needed.

Miscellaneous Manners

Snapcash has been socially deemed an inappropriate method of monetary transactions. If you need to exchange money virtually, the best apps to use are Venmo or Cash App.

Update your profile and make a Bitmoji if you have not already. Bitmojis help people quickly identify who you are and are at this point expected during interface. Having a Snapchat without a Bitmoji is like coming to the party underdressed. There are expectations for your appearance on these virtual grounds.

You should also be aware of your location settings. Snapchat’s update in March 2018 introduced Snap Map, which allows friends to see your location in real time. Other social media also allow you to update others on your location, such as the Facebook check-ins or Twitter location tags, but these are only included with conscious inclusion of them in posts. The Snap Map, however, is constantly available for friends to see. Taking extra caution with sharing location is important for safety reasons and for certain social considerations as well. It may not be advantageous to you for everyone to know how much time you spend in certain places during more suspicious hours.

Snapchat History

Snapchat did not always give its users as many freedoms as it does today. The original app released in 2011 did not have features such as replaying, infinite display times, chatting, geofilters, stories or location sharing. Text was limited to the number of characters you could fit on a single line, and the rest had to either be handwritten using the paint tool or sent in a second Snapchat. Videos were also constrained to a strict 10-second length. Social aspects such as streaks and the privatization of the Best Friends list were not developed until later as well. With power comes responsibility. Using the many features Snapchat provides with consideration can help this platform be truly a social medium.