The Honeymoon Period
I joined Snapchat when it started to become a popular platform for bloggers, so maybe 2015? I'm a stay at home Mum and it was such a brilliant way to chat to other people. I loved the novelty of seeing other peoples daily lives, and as someone who has never gone to a blog event, I loved seeing those too. I enjoyed watching super famous people like Reese Witherspoon and the Kardashians (and Britney's sister), it was a total novelty.
As my views went up, more and more people started to send me messages. Which was lovely, for the most part. I got a bit of hassle early on and it really got to me (so much so that I wrote this post) - I left for a couple of days, and got hundreds of supportive messages from people. I came back, skin thicker than ever, and kept snapping daily life - but I just got so tired of it. It got to the point where I was expected to answer questions daily - I've no issue with general questions, but it got incredibly intrusive ("what should I buy my mother for Christmas" "show us your husband" "what does your husband do" "where abouts do you live" "why do your kids not go to playschool" "why do you not have a dishwasher [complete with Dermot Bannon style plans on how I could fit one in - who needs cupboards anyway]" "why have you so much crap on your worktops" "why don't your kids have a playroom" "why don't you snap your cat" "why don't you let your cat in the house" "why do you have a cat around kids" "can I have a shoutout" "can you post about my blog" "can you mention my charity fund" "can you mention our sale" "can you mention our discount" "can you mention my birthday" "can you snap your cat for my sister" "can you snap that recipe again that you snapped six months ago" "how do I cook this turkey" "why are you wrapping Santa presents" "why are you leaving presents out before Christmas" "what are the last order dates for beauty bay" "can u email me your PR contacts I want to start a blog" - all real questions I was asked.
You Changed, Man
Over the past year, in general, the atmosphere on Snapchat changed. As advertising increased (no issue with this by the way - I did an ad too) - people began to question motives more. Anonymous threads began to appear, Instagram comments started to turn sour, the rise of the term "influencer" took over and seemed to sweep us all down the river. Anyone with a public Snapchat account was called an influencer and was discussed, questioned, and examined. Can I add here, for the record - nobody has any obligation to declare something as an #ad if money hasn't changed hands. That's a really common misconception - that people are being misled intentionally. And that's how I felt Snapchat had turned - people were now watching with an overly critical eye, ready to pounce on a slip-up. It was really uncomfortable and led to the constant re-filming of Snaps. Also, the term "blogger" was thrown around when discussing Snapchat, leading to a huge increase in ACTUAL bloggers throwing in the towel because of the negative connotations attached to the title. Every time someone mentioned something "bloggers need to avoid" it all related to Snapchat. A blogger is someone who writes and posts on a website, not someone with a Snapchat account.
I love chatting. I do. But it got to the point where I was getting so many messages that I didn't want to open my app at all, and I didn't want to turn my WiFi on at all some days. I'd get a sense of dread every time I looked at the phone. I began to censor myself more and more. I also got really paranoid. I got paranoid that people were talking about me, or that I was doing something wrong, I got paranoid about showing products I liked. I didn't like the idea of people discussing me. I didn't like having to justify myself constantly. I didn't like having to censor my snaps in case a child was in the background because people would screenshot them. I tried closing my messages but then it felt like I was talking to nobody and it was all a bit pointless (plus, the minute I opened my Snaps again all the undelivered messages would come through anyway and I'd be back at square one). Being 100% honest, my family got a bit pissed off with me snapping when we were out too. And my grocery shopping took FOREVER because I snapped so many shelves. All the craic went out of snapping.
Packing My Bags
The final straw was when my children were in bad form and I hadn't really snapped much - I tried to put on a happy face and snapped about going out for a burger. The first reply I got was "state of your nails tho..." and I thought - right, that's it, done. I'm no longer prepared to put myself under that scrutiny, this isn't my job. I don't have to do this. I chose to share, so I choose to stop. By the end, over 5,000 people were watching me - people I know in real life who don't speak to me in real life were watching me and it freaked me out. Imagine walking into a room with 5,000 people in it, everyone knowing your name, your home, your daily routine - and you haven't a clue who 4,750 of them are. It made me feel very vulnerable. One night I got a message with a video of a guy my husband worked with years ago - how did they find him? How did I even come up in conversation?! I said to my sister "I feel like I'm being watched all the time" and she replied ".........but............you are?!".
I've been snap-free for almost a month now and I have to say, my mood has improved dramatically. I wake up knowing that my day is my own, I'm not under any obligation to share, I don't have to sit answering questions for hours (and it took hours), I can still have chats with people on other social media platforms, and I'm talking to people I lost contact with because they didn't 'do' Snapchat. I've more time for the kids, I've more time to read, I've more WiFi and Data left so I can catch up on Netflix more often - I can genuinely say there hasn't been one single downside to leaving. I miss a couple of people very much and I need to make more of an effort to interact with them on other platforms but apart from that? I don't miss a second of it. I'm out of the bubble, and my mental health thanks me for it.
I'm not coming back. I really, really appreciate the support and nice messages - but I'm telling you, I'm done.
I still love talking shite and sharing bargains, tips, food, books, daily life stuff - I'm on Instagram (I do the odd story there too), I'm on Twitter, I'm on Facebook - I've still been blogging here regularly too, I never stopped that. I haven't gone away. I'm just done with the anonymity and pressure that comes with snapping. I've actually got much more time now for the other platforms and my engagement across all of them has been so much better since I left Snapchat - so please do get in touch!
Thank you to every single person who followed or snapped since I started - thanks for the shoutouts, for the laughs, and for the support.
It's not you, it's me.