Philosophically speaking, I should like Snapchat. Its ephemeral nature speaks to the privacy hawk side of me. Unlike Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, Snapchat allows us to share photos and messages digitally without our dastardly data lurking in the corners of our personal histories, ready to jump out and make us look like nits at some fateful point down the road. Snapchat represents a new evolution in Internet communication, its popularity a reaction against the unnatural permanence of online profiles that betray the fleeting essence of life. It allows us to be silly, sullen, and sexy, without (much) risk of looking foolish before the entire world – a feature its high-profile competitors all but lack.
And yet, despite all its perks, I still can’t bring myself to use Snapchat.
Why don’t I like Snapchat? The only answer I can come up with is that I’ve officially become an angry old man.
That’s not to say I haven’t given it a fair try. My colleagues have tried to get me on the Snapchat love boat – an experiment that lasted roughly four hours before I completely jumped ship. As have my school-age nephews, the ones who let me join their Xbox Live “gang,” and make fun of me for wielding weapons in Black Ops 2 like I have some vicious form of early-onset Parkinson’s. They too stopped messaging me after I failed to respond with my own witty captioned photos.
Nor am I saying that I don’t understand the simple appeal of Snapchat – the ability to combine text messages and photos into a single form that disappears after a short amount of time. It’s clever, quick, fun, and it works – users reportedly send each other more than 350 million snaps per day, a number that is sure to increase thanks to its new Snapchat Stories feature. I totally get it.
So what’s my deal? Why don’t I like Snapchat? The only answer I can come up with is that I’ve officially become an angry old man.
As a tech-savvy 30-year-old, I never thought the day would come when I would reject a useful technology simply due to some gut reaction that turns me off. If I just managed to stay in the know, to keep my mind limber with the technological advancements coming down the pipe, I’d remain ahead of the curve. But Snapchat proved me wrong.
Rather than remain nimble and accepting of new forms of communication, my scumbag brain has decided to start constructing a wall that blocks out the new and the cool. If young people are using it, some wrinkled part of me wants to stand on a street corner, waving my cane in the air, screaming about “these damn kids!” and “in my day!”
Meanwhile, the part of me that hasn’t already started picking out coffin designs realizes just how ridiculous I sound railing against new technologies. Snapchat may have started as a “sexting” app, but it has clearly evolved since those days, and is maturing into something far more useful to mainstream tech users. There is no good reason to reject Snapchat out of hand – but I have, despite myself.
The part of me that hasn’t already started picking out coffin designs realizes just how ridiculous I sound railing against new technologies.
When you’re young, it seems so strange when older generations fail to get on board with emerging technology and services. Perhaps their brains have just deteriorated to a point that renders them incapable of comprehending new ways of doing things, you think. Maybe they’re just set in their ways, rejecting change out of fear. But now, having set foot on the other side, I see that neither of those explanations tell the whole story. No – the reason I reject Snapchat is not because I fear it or don’t understand how to use it. It’s because I simply don’t give a damn anymore – that’s what scares me.
In itself, avoiding Snapchat isn’t a big deal. I’m not missing out on some communication revolution or important moment in human history. People can use Snapchat, or not. It’s just a dumb app. Whatever. Who cares? But Snapchat isn’t what’s at stake here – instead, it’s this notion that I will remain forever young, forever able to gracefully jump on the bandwagons (self-driving cars?) of technology that have begun to streak past me at increasing speeds and in ever greater numbers.
So enjoy new technology while you can, kids. Because the day that you give up, sit back, and allow yourself to get left behind may arrive sooner than you can imagine.
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The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not reflect the beliefs of Digital Trends.