Is Snapchating in Public Socially Acceptable?

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Rachel Darke

Some it fascinates, some it appalls, some it humors, some don’t even know what it is, but we’ve all witnessed it: selfieing in public.

For those of you who do not know what a selfie is, do not fear! The infamous word was recently added to the Oxford Dictionary, and was the dictionaries’ Word of the Year for 2013.

Selfie; Syllabification: sel·fiel; Pronunciation/ˈselfē; noun (plural selfies); For the purposes of this article, verb (selfieing); A photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website.

After the basic definition, The Oxford Dictionaries’ website adds, “occasional selfies are acceptable, but posting a new picture of yourself everyday isn’t necessary.” (If you don’t believe me, read it for yourself).

Amen, Oxford! When you feel like, in the words of The Great Beyoncé, “I woke up like this, I woke up like this… flawless,” go ahead, post a selfie! But, most would agree with Oxford that, “a new picture of yourself everyday isn’t necessary.

It seems that the most popular social media platform for selfies is Instagram. But if one looks in the background of an Instagram selfie, they normally see the interior of a house, not a busy downtown. Rarely does one take, then post, a selfie in a public place.

But the since the birth of Snapchat, an app first launched in July of 2011 that is compatible with all smartphones and currently holds 6th place in Apple’s list of most downloaded free apps, people (arguably, of all ages) are selfieing in public everywhere!

For those of you who don’t know what Snapchat is, I can’t give you a dictionary definition (yet), but Snapchat is an app that allows one to send a picture to anyone in one’s Snapchat contacts, viewable for up to ten seconds.

Those unfamiliar with Snapchat might also be confused as to how onlookers can differentiate between the rare regular selfieing in public and snapchat selfieing in public.

Ever seen someone slow down their walking pace (or stop altogether), hold their phone in front of their face (which could be mirroring anything from the always flattering 2-chinzzz face, to the slightly-classier Kardashian strain of the duck face), then lower their cell, and presume on their way?

Onlookers who do not have a Snapchat might be feeling bad for this person, assuming they were a real life victim of the saying, “if you keep making that face, you’ll get stuck with it,” or wondering why this person’s tryna look sexy while walking (and maybe telling them its not working).

But, any veteran Snapchater would know that these are the telltale signs of public snapchat-selfieing.

Now we come to one of the more pressing question in this article: is it socially acceptable to snapchat-selfie in public?

Ashley Linnehan says, “I’m embarrassed for people selfieing in public.”

Megan Walsh agrees: “I can’t help but feel awkward for them.”

But Nolan Bridgewater acknowledges the fact that we all do it by saying, “It’s more awkward watching someone take a selfie in public then to take one  yourself.”

These quotes may help you to come to a conclusion, but I am still pressed by the issue and am beginning to wonder some other selfie-related questions, myself.

Are The Chainsmokers going to come out with a sequel to their song “#Selfie” called, “#Snapchat”? (If this happens, I call 10% of the profits.)

(If you do not get this reference: The recently released single “#Selfie” by The Chainsmokers, a New York City based disc jockey/producer group, is a satire of the current selfie-culture over catchy dance beats and bass drops that has racked in over 26 million views on YouTube.)

I also find myself wondering when taking a mirror selfie with an iPad will become a federal offence?

But my friends, until that article, selfie on! (or nah), and don’t take any mirror iPad selfies because you might have to face jail time.