A few months ago, I was riding a wild-maned horse down a black sand trail in Iceland. The sun was shining, the sky blue for the first time in days.

All of a sudden, my horse bolted. As she careened and bucked, I gripped the reins and tried not to get thrown off.

When she finally was calm, I was anything but. My heart was pounding and my hands were trembling –  I even thought about calling the ride.

Despite this scare, for the rest of the ride I was itching to pull out my phone and take a snapchat. I knew it was unsafe, but I wanted to share this experience with friends.

I kept asking myself, “Why can’t I just enjoy the moment? Why am I dying to use my phone even when I know it’s dangerous?”

The danger of living retroactively

“Recording life is a poor substitute for living it.” – The Geography of Bliss

You could argue all social media kills the moment. But I don’t think there’s any form of social media that obliterates the moment as thoroughly as Snapchat.

With Snapchat, we record and share our the best moments of our lives. But by doing this, we also half-live them. Living in the moment becomes impossible when you’re filming, choosing a filter, and checking to see how many people watched your Story.

Needless to say, we should cherish our happiest moments, not watch them through a screen. As Carson said on Downton Abbey, “The business of life is the acquisition of memories. In the end that’s all there is.”

Yes, you can watch your Story after the fact. But is that really the same as actually living? I would argue it’s not.

The danger of living vicariously

Similarly, watching other people’s snapchats can also be harmful. Watching so many incredible stories can make you appreciate your own life a little less.

It can cause you to wonder if your life is enough, as on Snapchat, everyone else’s lives seem much more interesting and glamorous. Because as much as Snapchat puts you behind the scenes of someone’s life, you’re still watching the highlight reel.

. . . . . . . . . . .

Overall I’m torn. Snapchat is entertaining and helps me catch up on my friends’ lives. It also gives you a window into experiences you’ll likely never have: A Dior show in Paris, a cooking class at Julia Child’s house in Provence.

From a professional standpoint, Snapchat becoming more and more valuable for bloggers, and many of my blogging friends have landed lucrative Snapchat partnerships. As Snapchat continues to build steam, I imagine brands will pay even more for Snapchat exposure.

I sometimes consider throw my hat into the Snapchat ring. But realistically, would I ever want to prioritize an app over living in the moment? I don’t think so.

So I wanted to open up the floor to you – what do you think? Do you think Snapchat kills the moment or is a fun way to catch up with friends and experience new worlds?

First photo by Sateless Suitcase.

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Ashley Fleckenstein

Ashley is a travel and lifestyle blogger who lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Since college she has au paired in Paris, backpacked the world solo, and lived in Uganda. Her work has been featured by Buzzfeed, Forbes, TripAdvisor, and Glamour Magazine.
Ashley Fleckenstein