By Alex Diantgikis, Staff Writer

Snapchat users can take photos and send them for a selected period of time before they are deleted/ PHOTO VIA

Snapchat users can take photos and send them for a selected period of time before they are automatically deleted/ PHOTO VIA

For the past couple of weeks my phone has been taken over by the new craze– an app called Snapchat. The smartphone application allows users to edit and send a picture to their friends or contacts. Which pretty standard.

The catch is that the photos are only visible to the recipients for a set amount of seconds, decided upon by the sender, and the pictures don’t save to your device. The sender can see when the receiver has opened the picture and if they have taken a screenshot of the image.

Every day my phone is bombarded by Snap Chat. Pictures of food. Pictures of shoes. Pictures of tongues. Pictures of lecture halls. Pictures of this too close for comfort guy on the T. Pictures of the hot guy on the T. Pictures of painted nails. Pictures of snow. Pictures of the Citgo sign. Pictures of freshly rolled out of bed hair.

In the beginning, I was skeptical. The idea sending photos for a set amount of time seemed sketchy to me. “Snap me,”seems to have become an everyday phrase. Particularly embarrassing photos usually get a screenshot.

And where do the pictures go if they are not saved to your device? Are they just floating out in cyberspace? Are they deleted? Or is there some massive database warehouse of selfies where Snapchat workers laugh as they scroll through your most embarrassing  shots?

Besides, what was the value of sending pictures on a timer? Why was this such a craze?

And then my hipster, I’m too cool for mainstream-attitude caved, and I downloaded it. I’d like to say I was peer-pressured into it, but it was simply curiosity. I wanted to understand the madness.

Then it hit. The hurricane of images.

And slowly, it started to seem less weird. It allows me to connect with my family and friends at home. It’s cute and harmless and slightly addictive. Bottom line: it isn’t what it appears to be and, like most forms of social media, its content and usefulness is created by the consumers. You can use it to your own purposes–I certainly do.