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Conference Papers Year : 2021

‘Picryption’ on Snapchat


The massive spread of smartphones, with the integrated cameras and social networks, is increasingly encouraging users to communicate by images. As a consequence, the nature of online exchanges is considerably transformed. The text, which was a main medium of communication, has been progressively replaced by photographs. To date, many scholars have documented that image are in the process of becoming a new everyday language: as a locution, a pic speech, a social photo. Teenagers are particularly adept at reading photographic symbols. In this paper, I show how teenagers attempt to hide, conceal, or fake their concerns in order to protect their own privacy in front of adults. I term such actions as ‘Picryption’. Picryption, originated from the Greek word κρυπτός, means hidden, concealed, private or secret. Picryption is a social redundancy of the technical encryption of social media, that refers to the process of converting information or data into a code, especially to prevent unauthorized access. That is, the concealment of signifiers in photographs, which can only be read by those with the code and aim to maintain privacy. For instance, on Snapchat, French’s teenagers post stories to encourage interaction and sometimes dating. Online, contexts collapse to bring together audiences that do not mix offline. This expanded hearing does not necessarily lead to self-censorship. Adolescents, accustomed to interacting in public, tend to develop their own communication principles to escape the double control of adults and peers. In social media, this youthful communication is encrypted in shared photos.


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Dates and versions

hal-03471749 , version 1 (09-12-2021)


  • HAL Id : hal-03471749 , version 1


Margot Déage. ‘Picryption’ on Snapchat: Decoding the interactions through pictorial exchanges among Parisian teenagers. 26th Annual Conference on Language Interaction, and Culture, Apr 2021, University of California, Los Angeles, United States. ⟨hal-03471749⟩
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