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Culture > Digital

How Stepping Back From My Private Snapchat Story Changed My Life

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Mass Amherst chapter.

Private Snapchat stories. Most people have one. And if you don’t, someone you know certainly does. What was once supposed to be a fun way to share pictures and videos with your friends became a sort of online diary. Is this for better or worse?

Towards the end of my freshman year of high school, a new trend made its way onto Snapchat. That trend was custom stories. You get to select who you want from your friends list on the app to view what you share on this particular story. It felt like a big, one-sided group chat. You can say, do, or share whatever you want with your closest friends. At first, there were a lot of silly posts. It was entertaining to see something funny and just post a picture/video for all of your friends to see. However, as time went on the story took on a different role in my life.

I know you are probably thinking I am being dramatic. How much of a toll can a private Snapchat story have on you? Well, probably a bigger one than you may realize. As time passed, I found myself posting random thoughts, feelings, and emotions consistently throughout the day in between snaps of what I was doing, wearing, or eating that day. I was trying to simultaneously keep my guard up and “perform” for my friends while trying to be vulnerable at the same time. The performance aspect can apply to any form of social media but it is a bit different for private stories. It is a more relaxed performance. I was trying to make my life seem casually interesting. My private story was treading the line between authenticity and acting. 

My feelings began to become shaped around the need to post on my private story. I would be upset over something and instead of contacting a friend to have a conversation, I would post myself being upset on my private story. I would write captions about issues in my life and it became a constant outlet for me. To post in my private story and just get the feelings off my chest felt right. But what purpose was it really serving me? Was it to get my friend’s attention without having to have a conversation? Was it to just vent? Did I really feel better after posting about it? 

A few months ago I took a break and cut back on posting for a while. Now and then I would post something of little importance if I felt like it. What I learned from that was that if I could not figure out why I was always dedicating so much time and effort to posting on my private story, then maybe it wasn’t serving me. Maybe I do do it for attention. That is a hard pill to swallow and not something that feels good to admit. But if I have friends on that private story that I can easily talk to and get real feedback and conversation from then why do I need all of my other friends to see that I am having a bad day? This is not to say that everyone who posts on their private story is acting or is looking for attention. But if you fell victim to daily snap posts like me then it might be worth it to ask yourself why you do it and how it improves your life. Through this question, I realized that private stories became my way of trying to get people’s attention without seeming like I was. It is not the same as explicitly asking someone to talk to you. Instead, you can just put something out there and let the replies be discretionary. I have yet to figure out if this is necessarily a bad thing. I think it is human to want attention. But I also think that when you share so much of yourself with the world, even when the world is your private story, you can lose a bit of yourself to that. Just me knowing and seeing the things I did in a day did not feel like enough. But now that I am more conscious of what and when I post on my private story, I understand that it was separating me from myself. I never sat with my thoughts, instead, I let other people do that. 

I have learned that some of my feelings serve better purposes roaming through my head rather than my friends’ screens. Private stories are a fun way to stay connected and share our lives but it is easy to let them consume you. My advice is to just ask yourself why a bit more often and maybe you will find what serves you well and what does not. 

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Kaitlyn Soper

U Mass Amherst '25

Kaitlyn is a sophomore at UMass Amherst. Her major is political science. She loves music, film, and dance.