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Snapchat’s “Trending” page is truly the crown jewel in content creators’ obsession with clickbait. The talented individuals who put together the material for this page possess the unique ability to turn the most mundane information into a headline that screams of urgency and often promises something shocking (which rarely delivers). If we all used the same standards that Snapchat employs to talk about our everyday experiences, it would definitely make for an exciting retelling worthy of the Trending screen, don’t you think?

So, here’s an average, generally unremarkable day in my life… the way Snapchat would tell it. 

I usually wake up between 8 and 8:15 a.m. Sometimes, I see my dog has jumped onto my bed and is sleeping at the end. Here’s how Snapchat Trending might portray that:


That is indeed a photo of a dog’s paw, but it might not be obvious at first glance. Oftentimes, the images used on the Trending cards are accurate to what the story describes, but have been made unrecognizable, which allows for audiences’ imaginations to fill in the rest. A lot of us tend to assume the content is going to be far more vulgar than it actually is, making it easy for Snapchat to get those tasty, tasty taps as we check to see if our suspicions are right.

After I get up, I do my morning routine, the last part of which involves packing my lunch. Sometimes, I’ll have something planned, but most of the time I just grab the first things I see. I’m sure Snapchat would find a more interesting way of conveying that, though.

I don’t think I would go so far as to call any of my lunches “lit” – unless that’s an acronym for Largely Irritated Twentysomething – but that’s one of those cool new slang terms that’s popular among today’s youths, right? We once had bodacious; now, we have lit. Time marches on, and Snapchat wants to be a baton twirler at the front.

Then I go off to work. The office tends to be on the chilly side, and here in Detroit, winter is a five or six-month affair. So I keep a small space heater under my desk turned to the low setting, which blows a stream of warm air onto my legs and feet throughout the day. I have no doubt that thousands of other people do this, too, but Snapchat Trending might characterize it thusly…


For those who’ve never used one before, space heaters do not, in fact, work by shooting out magical orange beams. However, it’s the perfect kind of image for sales and just ridiculous enough for Snapchat.  I can’t imagine anyone would consider purchasing and using a space heater to really be a “life hack,” but you can be sure it would show up on Trending anyway if Snapchat thought people would tap on it.

Like pretty much every office worker on the planet, coffee consumption is a must in my daily life. Every so often, in the stupor of exhaustion, I forget that what I’m about to put in my mouth has been recently boiled, and I end up burning my tongue. It’s surely an inconvenience, but on Snapchat Trending, it would look more like this.

Well, you really shouldn’t drink too-hot coffee, but Snapchat would steer away from making it obvious that the story was about something so ordinary. Instead, they’d go in a more vague direction like this, which implies that there’s something horrifically wrong about the brew. If they felt like cranking up the clickbait even more, they might add a flash of green to subtly reference… a very popular coffee chain.

After I eat my TOTALLY LIT lunch, I sometimes go for a walk outside. I haven’t been doing this much lately, though, because it’s rained a lot the past few weeks. Or as Snapchat would put it:

And just like that, a story about simply not wanting to walk in the rain can appear to be about severe agoraphobia, paranoia, body dysmorphia, or some other more upsetting (and clickbait-worthy) reason why someone might be hesitant to go outside. Selecting an isolated quote like this can be a very effective way of making something seem far more dramatic than it really is, and that’s why it’s such a popular technique on Snapchat Trending.

Caffeine goes a long way toward compensating for my irresponsible approach to sleep, but there are times when it’s just not enough, and fatigue (and sometimes, boredom) throw me right into headache territory. Fortunately, we keep a stock of acetaminophen in our supply closet, so when needed, I pop a few and get back to work. Enhance, Snapchat style!

Et voilà – taking a Tylenol every so often has just been turned into a worrying example of widespread drug abuse. Again, it’s not so much about outwardly lying; it’s certainly probable that, at one point or another, the majority of people who work or have worked in an office will use some form of painkiller. A bit of ambiguity can go a long way.

Part of my job is coming up with topics to write about. The other part is then completing that writing. (You get all that? I can go over it again.) One of the places I turn to for inspiration is the news. I don’t usually comment directly on current events, but I do sometimes like to make general observations about larger cultural trends I’ve noticed unfolding.

That’s probably the caption Snapchat would choose to communicate that I was coming up with ideas for content, and then I wrote an article. I guess “He was doing his job, then continued doing his job” would probably not be particularly alluring. In truth, “THIS” could refer to absolutely anything. Was I fired on the spot? Made to scrub the bathroom with a toothbrush? Fed to hungry lions? All of the above simultaneously? Not yet, but I always keep an open mind.

When I’m done with work at 5 p.m. (or sometimes a few minutes early, heh heh) I head straight to the club to turn up, baby! No, actually I go home because all I ever want to do after work is eat and be left alone. I don’t know if even Snapchat could make that seem exciting. Well, let’s see. Maybe this would entice you to tap?

In case it wasn’t obvious, that is not a photo of me. I don’t have a hammock, and I don’t wear sneakers, but this is more along the lines of what Snapchat typically likes to promote (as opposed to me sitting around in oversized sweats and shoving yet another bagel bite in my face).

After an evening comprised of doing a lot of nothing with a short break to chip away at some homework, it’s nearly time to hit the hay. Most nights I don’t feel fully ready to sleep until I’ve done a little reading, though.  I’m always in the middle of at least one book, which I keep on my nightstand so I can easily grab it while in bed. Here’s a Snapchat Trending interpretation of that.

Mmm, yes. Describing something as a “ritual” is definitely up Snapchat’s alley, right? And after that tasty midnight snack of clickbait, it’s off to dreamland so the cycle can start itself over tomorrow.

So, what do you think of Snapchat’s Trending page? I suppose I can’t really blame them for an overreliance on clickbait. After all, Snapchat is all about looking at something for a short segment of time and then never seeing it again. When your audience is in that mindset, how do you convince them to check out the content your sponsors are paying you to promote? In a world where people’s attention spans have already notoriously shrunken, Snapchat has little other choice but to exaggerate to try to catch your eye.

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