It’s important to remember that what you text, tweet, or post on any forum or website is essentially “out there” forever.
This of course is what makes services like Snapchat, the ephemeral video, photo, and text service, so attractive to those who value private indiscretion. You can send a text, photo, or video to anyone else on Snapchat and, after a few seconds, the message is gone forever.
Think of it as the dry-erase board of messaging, where texts and social media are more of a permanent marker.
If only the folks below had used a dry-erase marker! We’ve compiled a group of pour souls who probably would have opted for something a little less permanent for their communications if they could do it again.
So here they are: the nine people who wish they had used Snapchat:
1. We start, of course, with the Should-Have-Used-Snapchat poster child, former New York Rep. Anthony Weiner. What more is there to say about Weiner’s now-famous Twitter/underwear/dirty talk kerfuffle?
The congressman from New York will please rise.
The House member got in trouble after a photo of his, uh, House member went out to his tens of thousands of Twitter followers. He had meant to send the photo as a private direct message. This is something that does not happen on Snapchat, as everything is a private direct message.
(Or, instead of Snapchat, maybe just try not even snapping photos of your eponymous appendages.)
2. Instagram Direct is the photo sharing app’s private group messaging feature. It lets you send photos directly to other people on Instagram, without displaying them to all of your followers. Unlike on Snapchat, where you don’t know who else has received a photo, everyone you send a photo to on Instagram Direct can see the other recipients, just like on an email chain.
Unfortunately, not everyone understands the full ins and outs of how it works. For example: This guy (below) probably didn’t know all his girlfriends would be able to see one another attached to this message.
Hey, buddy, Snapchat is much more sneaky. Use that next time.
3. You may think marijuana laws are a joke, but do you know who doesn’t? The cops.
When a cannabis enthusiast posted an Instagram picture of himself holding a joint, presumably to give his friends a laugh, the fuzz caught wind and promptly saw to it that his fun went up in smoke. Maybe that funny picture would have been funnier as an Instagram direct message. Or perhaps a Snapchat.
4. OK, so this may or may not have been a joke by Rainn Wilson. But fail or funny, when he tweeted in 2011 what looked like a direct message about a Del Taco sponsorship, blogs called him out. He went on to make a similar “mistake” by bad-mouthing said blogs in a second “DM fail.”
Bears, beets, Battlestar Galactica, Del Taco. (thenextweb.com)
We’d say that he and other celebs should stick to more secretive measures when whispering insults online (Snapchat, anyone?). Even though this sure seems like it was all meant to be silliness, it’s still a handy reminder that you are one keyboard slip away from a major DM fail on Twitter.
5. Considering that he was eventually charged with participation in 142 felonies, we’re not sure where this guy found the time to keep up an Instagram account. But he did, and unfortunately for him, he was an active poster.
We call this a thiefie. (New York Daily News)
After police noticed a 2013 post of the 19-year-old (already considered a suspect in multiple crimes) with guns in hand, they decided it was cause enough to search his Florida home. That led to him getting thrown in jail. Maybe be more discreet with photos of yourself with evidence?
As a side note, the young man listed “thief” as his occupation on the booking papers. Snapchat wouldn’t have saved him on that one.
6. In 2009, a New Mexico man accidentally sent a drug deal text to the wrong phone number. No problem, right? Well, unfortunately, that phone number belonged to a police drug task force member. His poor choice in communication tool all culminated in the happenstance-iest arrest on our list.
Dramatic recreation. (Thinkstock)
This probably could have been avoided had our drug dealer just decided to use Snapchat! We’re pretty sure he wouldn’t have accidentally friended any police officers on there.
7. Bill Simmons, the Sports Guy and Grantland.com columnist, is no stranger to navigating social media. But when a misdirected 2010 Twitter DM concerning a trade about then-New England Patriots wide receiver Randy Moss ended up on his public timeline, sports media took advantage of his mistake.
Simmons fumbled the football tweet. (Deadspin)
Within hours, all the major news outlets were reporting that Moss would be dealt to the Vikings, and eventually he was. The jury is still out on whether or not this was some kind of Frank Underwood manipulation move by Simmons to get Moss off his team, but our instincts tell us that it was likely an honest mistake.
By the way, we’ve never heard of a trade rumor leaking via Snapchat message. Probably with good reason!
8. In an engagement, it’s the ring that binds two lovers together. But in the calling-off of this wedding, it was a text about the ring that bound the would-be wife to the would-be husband’s wallet. When a Buffalo, New York, man broke things off with his fiancée via text in 2012, he said that she could keep her engagement ring, or “parting ring,” as he called it.
Our groom-to-not-be. (Daily Mail)
When he later argued in court that the $50,000 ring was rightfully his to take back, the judge pointed to the couple’s text messaging records and ruled that the “parting ring” was a gift — no takebacks. Our legal advice to this man would have been to not end his engagement via text.
Snapchat: The best app to use when you are angrily promising your soon-to-be-ex-fiancée parting gifts.
9. Making fun of your guests would never be mistaken for great manners, but after a 2013 appearance that British politician Rachel Reeves made on Newsnight, the program Ian Katz edits for the BBC, Katz posted an “ill-judged” tweet calling her “snoring boring rachel reeves.” Reeves opted for a not-so-boring public pushback, tweeting a “thanks…” in reply.
Katz thought Rachel Reeves was a Labour Party pooper. (The Guardian)
In an interview with the Guardian, Reeves said that Katz has since “apologised” (translation: apologized) and explained to her and the Labour Party that his tweet was a misdirected direct message. At least Katz had the courtesy to attempt to relay his disparaging comments behind the back of his guest. Though we’re guessing he wouldn’t have been caught had he used — you guessed it! — Snapchat.
UPDATE: We have identified a 10th person who should have used Snapchat! And it is –– the guy who invented Snapchat.
The tech site Valleywag obtained emails that Snapchat CEO and cofounder Evan Spiegel sent out to his fraternity brothers in college. The emails feature lots of misogyny and some homophobia and are certainly not documents that any tech executive (or human being!) would want revealed to the public.
Spiegel definitely should have used Snapchat. Unfortunately, he hadn’t invented it yet.
Have questions, comments, or just want to tell me something funny? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.