Snapchat, the safe sex of social media12/18/2013
Somewhere in America a giddy tween-ager is right now being handed his or her first cell phone along with that parental warning: “Remember, once you post something online it is there forever.” Thankfully forever now has a pit stop, and it’s an application called Snapchat.
While I won’t profess to be fully attuned to youth culture, I do know this: Snapchat is in: Facebook is out. For those even more out the loop, Snapchat is a social messaging service that allows users to send multimedia messages with a shelf time of 10 seconds or less. Basically, users can share content privately with their social circles without their entire Facebook network of friends seeing it (i.e. mom), and it will self-destruct protecting the user from potential fallout.
Much has been made about the nefarious aspects of Snapchat: lewd photos, offensive or harassing content and the potential to bypass the self-destruct feature via screen capture. But in the end, Snapchat is really a way for communicators to recapture some semblance of privacy. Of course, some fools will use the app to advertise their bikini-zones, but more often Snapchat is used as a secret sharer.
The app’s swift rise has been so disruptive that Facebook reportedly offered $3 billion to acquire it, and Snapchat owners turned down the offer.’ Facebook, Twitter, Google — these companies want us to believe the future of information is all about transparency and living life as an open book, which is ideal when talking about education, politics and multinational corporations, but not when you’re making plans for Friday night. Some things don’t need to be open to the world.
We’ve all heard teaching abstinence doesn’t work, and it’s better to teach kids about preventive birth control measures. Maybe the same thinking should be applied to social networking. If you have to be stupid, at least do it with a safeguard. CV
Patrick Boberg is a central Iowa creative media specialist. For more tech insights, follow him on Twitter @PatBoBomb.