Tuesday, June 2, 2015

The Wonders of Snapchat

Once upon a time, I got my first Smartphone. It was amazing! I could download apps and go on the Internet and find my way around with GoogleMaps navigation. I could customize my family and friends' ringtones so I would know exactly who is calling me without even looking at my phone.

The phone didn't come without its problems, though. Something I wasn't aware of at the time was that there are two different kinds of messages you can send. One is a text message (SMS) and the other is a MultiMedia message (MMS). On my phone, all group conversations and picture messages were MMS and required me to "download" before I could see it.

Eventually, as my phone got older, the MMS downloading sometimes wouldn't work or would take forever to download! Because of that I would miss out on some great pictures or get the pictures a lot later. It was incredibly frustrating. I ended up using a different texting service for the last few months of my old phone because it got me picture messages a lot easier than before.

During this time of frustration, I spent Christmas at home. My little sister was spending Christmas with her in-laws, and she and my little brother were constantly sending pictures and short videos to each other through Snapchat. The family at home even got together for a selfie in front of the Christmas tree and sent it to my little sister.

As my older brother and I saw them interacting with each other, we both got curious about Snapchat. My little sister, when we visited her, explained that it's an app that allows you to send pictures and videos to each other (with optional text on top of the picture or video). These are only visible for a few seconds after you open it, and then they disappear from your phone. It allows people to send picture after picture without overloading the storage on the phone.

This sounded pretty appealing, and was a much better alternative to the crap I was dealing with when it came to my phone MMS, so my older brother and I downloaded it in January.

For the next four months, my siblings and I would send pictures and videos to each other very frequently. I know that the four of us have a few other friends on our Snapchat contact lists, but it seemed like those guys are the recipients of most of my snaps. My brother-in-law and sister-in-law are also in our sibling loop.

It has been even more important since the birth of my niece. Now we can get daily updates about her growth and progress and goofiness and cute outfits and sneezes. My little brother and his wife just moved, and I got snaps from their progress and their cats' adjustment to a new home. And for my older brother and I, we can share the ridiculous things that we hear or encounter in our respective adventures.

We were doing so much of it that when my whole family was together in April, my parents asked us to set them up with Snapchat! Now all of my family (except my niece) are on Snapchat, and it is another way that we can all communicate with each other. Because of our jobs, we can't be that extended family that lives in one area and sees each other every week. We all live in different states now, and we are blessed to have this method of communication to keep us together.

It started out as a way to avoid crappy MMS problems on my phone, but it has turned into a wonderful way to stay in touch with family and friends!

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