RED Hearts: Snapchat, better than Instagram?

RED Hearts are guest posts on I Heart Daily from the authors of RED: Teenage girls in America write on what fires up their lives today. Today’s RED Hearts post is from RED editor Charlotte Steinway, 24, in NYC, who shares her latest tech obsession:

I first heard about Snapchat the same way I hear about most other important things in my life -- events in the Middle East, album releases, my friends’ lunches -- on Twitter. In fact I even remember the exact wording of the tweet that mentioned the once-unknown phenom: “Oh, so Snapchat is the app for sexting,” it read.

Obviously, I had to Google it. I found humor in the fact that the 21-year-old founder refuted all claims that Snapchat was intended to be a “sexting app." The way it works is you take a photo (presumably of yourself), and then set the amount of time that the recipient can view it before it disappears from their phone "forever." Plus, with a 12+ age rating on iTunes (for “mature/sexual themes & mild sexual content or nudity") and app images portraying girls in bikinis, it hardly seemed to be built just for sending funny selfies to friends.

But boy was I wrong. As someone who grew up when the selfie was in its incubation period (i.e., the MySpace era), I’ve come to appreciate the camera on my iPhone 4 almost as much as the next middle school tween. So I didn't need much convincing to download the free app, which Forbes deemed “the biggest no-revenue mobile app since Instagram.” Now, a week and a half later, I've found myself sending friends photos of my half-asleep visage in the middle of my open office plan, birthday cake scrawled with rainbow stars and hearts (in addition to being able to draw over the photo in Kid Pix-like colors, you're also able to add up to 36 characters of text), and even letting out the occasional LOL at my friends' photos. (These have included a checkered outfit choice emblazoned with the words "Gingham Style.") But by far the funniest part of the app is the fact that you receive a notification when the recipient takes a screenshot of the photo -- and then there's nothing you can do to rescind it from their archive. Now that, my friends, is why I don't sext. Even if it is on Snapchat.