Discussion Lead Essay- Popular Culture

Francis Nierman

Comm 370s

Professor Goldman

September 28th, 2019

Snapchat vs Facebook Use and the Rhetorical Functions of Hashtags

The modern day society is obsessed with the concept of sharing various aspects of their lives on the internet. Whether it’s receiving the most likes on facebook or having the highest Snapchat score, we are attached to the idea of narcissism without even recognizing it. It can be argued that it is protruding into the younger generations, adolescents, of society that fall in this category. Something of interest to research was what drives the obsession and jealousy related to adolescents and social media. Another curiosity was finding a correlation between the obsession of popularity and social media applications. Thirdly, I wondered what a solution to this rising issue was and which course of action should be taken. Below is an analysis of hashtag use on social media applications and a discussion of the theory on Snapchat eliciting more jealousy than Facebook.

Snapchat is a social media application that allows users to send messages and photos to their friends with a timer choosing how long it is seen for. Users can also post stories that can be privately shown to their friends or public to anyone who follows their account. The initial release of this application was in 2011 and it became very popular amongst teenagers because of the wide variety of features. A special feature available, that was updated in 2015, was the ability to view any friends top best friends at that time. Names shown as best friends were the ones snapchatted most often by the user which became something that elicited jealousy. It is unknown if the creators designed this intentionally, but young adults seemed to compete for a place on a best friends list that was accessible by everyone. In regards to a situation between a couple where one party has another person showing on the list raising doubts of integrity. With the ability to delete messages and conversations, but still show the most snapchatted people lead to urges of checking what a significant other is up to on Snapchat. 

The ability of an individual to reach out or follow a large audience of people and remain connected to personal friends, family, and professional networking circle had previously been explored before by the 2003 launch of MySpace, but the full potential wasn’t reached until the 2004 launch of the Facebook social networking app. An argument can be made about which application elicits more jealousy than another. This point can be proven by looking at the various population demographics of the society that utilize each application. The younger generations tend to irrationally make posts that are later regretted, but adults are often in this situation as well. All ages experience exposure to other users or even themselves not thinking through what they put out for the internet to see and it may have the ability to be deleted, but it is never erased.  According to Sonja Utz and Nicole Muscanell, “A recent report showed that college students in the U.S. felt they have the most privacy on Snapchat. Also, Snapchat has a reputation for sexting, thus it might be assumed that it is more often used for flirting than Facebook.” (Utz and Muscanell, 2015). Adolescents are often found believing when something is said to disappear after a matter of seconds it has been deleted, but it is still obtainable by the authorities or creators of the application if necessary.  

The Hashtag is a social media feature first introduced to the Twitter networking database in 2007. Daer, Hoffman, and Goodman stated that “From a rhetorical perspective, metacommunicative hashtags should be viewed as “communicative genres” in the sense that they are dynamic, interactive functions of designed software being appropriated by users for tacit, recurring purposes of meaning making within and across social technologies,” (Daer, Hoffman, and Goodman. January, 2015). Essentially the hashtag is the pound icon which users can attach to words about events or sayings to instantly access content with that keyword. For example, if someone were to tweet, “What a beautiful goal! #Letsgocaps”, every tweet and photo shared with that same hashtag would be instantly on one page for the user to view at their leisure. To this point, it can be argued that the Hashtag is a very efficient and user friendly search engine. Hashtags are not exclusive to Twitter because they can also be applied on Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, and many other social media applications. A pound sign turned into a feature to represent events or sayings has spread throughout popular culture in a handful of ways such as hashtags printed onto clothing or accessories.

Can Hashtags elicit a level of jealousy?  In their normal uses Hashtags are purely keywords that are links to additional content with the same keyword.  It is when the keyword in question is of the nature that elicits jealousy.  

Works Cited:

  • Utz, S.,& Muscanell, N. (2015, February). Snapchat Elicits More Jealousy than Facebook: A Comparison of Snapchat and Facebook Use. Retrieved September 28, 2019, from researchgate.net.  
  • Daer, A. R., Hoffman, R. F., & Goodman, S. (2015, January). Rhetorical Functions of Hashtag Forms Across Social Media Applications. Retrieved September 28, 2019, from researchgate.net.

I Pledge: Francis Nierman