Eulogy For Snapchat’s Cities Of The World Stories

Valerie Hoke
September 17, 2015

One morning, many moons ago, we awoke to a surprise. Upon turning off our alarms, sighing into our pillows and checking our phones for what we missed overnight, we opened our Snapchat apps only to see “New York City” listed under “live.”

“What’s this?” We asked ourselves. It was a live story — snaps submitted by New Yorkers and laced together into an ongoing stream to show us a little insight into the city’s daily life.

A few days later, it was Los Angeles. Then London. Dubai. Toronto.

How long would this continue?

Cape Town. Istanbul. Mexico City. Sydney.

Quite a while, apparently.

This was our first taste of Snapchat’s Cities of the World feature and the snappy suspense that would persist for the next few months as we navigated our daily lives. Who would be next? Would our cities have their moments to shine?

Recently, that suspense came to an end. On an August day in 2015, Snapchat users awoke to see five horrible words: Cities of the World Finale.

Finale? As in… the end? No more? It couldn’t be true.

Such a young life cut so short. So much potential laid to waste. So many cities left uninvestigated.

What about cities in Russia? Thailand? Iceland? We never got to see those stories. Nothing from several states, either. (We’re not at all bitter that they never featured Philadelphia, by the way. Not. At. All.)

We mourn the prospect of waking up every day knowing that our city’s selection might grant us our own 10 seconds of worldwide stardom. A snap of a girl playing the saxophone while floating on a pool raft in nbso online casino reviews Phoenix? Watched all over the world. The sound of a call to prayer peacefully reverberating throughout the streets of Abu Dhabi? Viewed by millions.

This loss calls upon us all to reflect on the impact Snapchat’s Cities of the World Stories had on our own lives. Now, our most creative and educational snaps are limited to ourselves and our own inner circles.

How will we express local pride? How will we feel smarter than we actually are because somebody in Montreal gave us a five-second history of their city’s tallest building? How will we know what geofilters exist in cities we’ve never been able to visit? This loss has made us all a little less worldly. We mourn for ourselves and for each other.

We no longer have a daily opportunity to observe our favorite pop culture jokes translated all around the world. Nor do we have the material with which to gossip about people we don’t know who reside on the other side of the planet. Gone are the days when one might walk through a public place and overhear one dude say to the other, “Did you see those kids getting drunk in Amsterdam on Snapchat? That was awesome, dude.”

Snapchat may try to replace its Cities of the World feature with something else, but the holes left in our hearts can never be filled. Replay your received snaps, screenshot the best ones, and think about everything we still have left in order to get through this trying time.