Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Snapchat, Social Media, and Feeling Old at 35

Today, I started a new semester teaching First Year Writing at Montclair State University. I love the start of a semester.  There's just a feeling of newness and hope that permeates the hallways. Anything, any grade, any opportunity is possible.

I also love talking with my students.  Like it or not, they are of a different generation and I learn a lot about current popular culture by hearing what they have to say. For our first unit, we are working on analyzing social media and modern day communication, so today, I had them talk about what social media platforms they are on.

Predictably, almost all of them said Facebook.  (Whoever says it is going out of style for teenagers clearly needs to rethink that position.) However, there is a point in the afore-linked article; students are using more messenger apps on their phones.  In addition to the old standbys, Facebook and Twitter, a good amount of them mentioned Instagram and also Snapchat.

Before today, I had NO idea what Snapchat was. "With this mobile app, users can send photos and videos to their friends. These messages promptly disappear after one viewing, which, in the minds of teenage viewers, allows for greater security" (Daniels para.1). The problem is, the images don't really disappear, or so I've read. I mean, this is the internet. Are we really to believe anything ever disappears?

Regardless, it seems that it is that which offers more for a shorter attention span that has become more popular. I would say a good 90% of my students today said they are on Snapchat, and said it with major enthusiasm.

So, just now, I searched for a Snapchat meme to include in this blog post and almost everything that came up had to do with sex. Ugh. And now I officially feel old and oblivious, because I really, naively, didn't realize that the allure of instant pictures that "disappear" would be to send graphic photos. I have a six month old daughter and am officially horrified.

Please allow me to return to my blissful ignorance and my old people's social media of Facebook and Twitter now. I'm good on the Snapchat.

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