On a daily basis, I will open up Snapchat’s Discover page to see if there is anything newsworthy or beneficial. Every time, I am left disappointed. A lot of the stories have anxiety-inducing headlines, such as “You Might Be Pregnant if You Feel This After Sex” or “Your Acne Might Actually Be What?!” which are quickly debunked after a quick read reveals that their headlines are specifically designed to scare you into wanting more information.
In this day and age, it’s all about the views, and Snapchat’s Discover page is filled to the brim with headlines that tease viewers like you and me into clicking through their bogus stories. Granted, the purpose behind headlines, in general, is to try and get an audience interested in the message the article is trying to send; but, more often than not, Snapchat’s overly enticing headlines pack way more punch than the actual stories deserve.
The clickbait titles stir up curiosity, but, as you tap through the seemingly countless stories that precede the headline story you were actually interested in, you soon realize that the information given is incredibly vague, crappy advice or simply common sense.
The Discover page is designed to pass the time and, as I scroll through the farcical titles littering my feed in some kind of trance and flowing from one story to the next, I can’t help but realize that it does its job well.
Snapchat’s discover page is primarily a pop culture news feed that keeps people up to date with the most irrelevant news of the day, falling somewhere between “National Enquirer” and Buzzfeed. Both are great at reeling in audiences by suggesting things so nonsensical and sensationalized that you just have to see for yourself whether it is really as interesting as it seems.
I’ve also noticed that a lot of the stories seen throughout the Discover page tend to correlate with what’s trending on YouTube. For instance, the famous YouTube makeup artist James Charles is currently in the middle of a messy scandal, and a good portion of the Discover page has been dedicated to documenting every second of it. Also, similar to Buzzfeed, Snapchat’s Discover page lacks variety and seems to recycle its material, churning out more of the same Beauty Insider, Satisfying, Barstool” and Life Hacks articles each and every day.
I recognize that a large majority of Snapchat users are young adults and teenagers, but knowing that just adds to the amount of cringing I do when I see all of the ludicrous and suggestive headlines that could be impactful on much younger, more impressionable audiences. For instance, there are stories like Hooked that play out fake romantic, steamy and sexual texting scenarios perhaps too explicit for tweens.
Despite the overwhelming majority of off-putting and cringe-worthy content that makes up Snapchat’s Discover page, there are a few saving graces. If you’re not subscribed to any stories, like me, then it’s likely that your Snapchat Discover page is a hodgepodge of anything and everything.
However, Snapchat gives its users the ability to subscribe to specific stories and unsubscribe from others, allowing people to pick and choose what sort of content they will see within their personalized Discover page. Having the power to be selective about what kind of trivial topics are visible to you is a definite plus in terms of the overwhelming amount of useless junk advertised on social media.
There is also something to be said about having a social media platform that houses absurd and superficial topics. As frivolous as most of Snapchat’s Discover page stories might seem, it is a great place to go when you feel like taking a mental break from the stressors of daily life. Sometimes reading through nonsense makes perfect sense and silly stories can turn a bad day on its head.
Another positive attribute of Snapchat’s discover page is that you can view stories in a relatively quick and feasible manner. People’s attention spans are shrinking, and snap stories are an effective way to deliver content quickly.
Like most things, there is always room for improvement, and when it comes to Snapchat’s Discover page, I think that it could certainly use some fine tuning. Call me boring, but I would love to see more meaningful stories that offer more applicable and educational information.
Occasionally there are stories related to practicing safe sex or answering commonly asked questions about changes that happen throughout puberty, but these instances seem few and far between. Because there are so many younger people that use Snapchat, I think it would be an excellent opportunity for the platform to deliver information about the more difficult and awkward topics in a fun and effortlessly consumable way.
Snapchat’s Discover page understandably leans toward light-hearted coverage of pop culture as more hard-hitting news could be a big pill to swallow, but I think that offering more politics-focused feeds could also prove beneficial to both younger and older generations. And while they’re at it, they could stand to lose a few of the more forced and cringe-inducing headlines.