The Curmudgeon: Hey Snapchat — Three Cheers for Nothing, by Ron Steinman
Hey, I have a great idea. We should create an app that allows anyone to send a message that will self destruct in one to ten seconds after it arrives at its destination. That means anyone, myself included, but especially the young who do not yet have any moral standards, can say what they want in words or in pictures that might be rude, angry or obscene. Poof, just like that, there will be no record of what I sent. Oh, great day. I am now free to be as ugly as I want without leaving behind any crumbs. Wait. I hear some background noise that says that someone else has that idea and it is already working. They call it Snapchat. Sadly, I am late to the party. Sorry that I mislead you into thinking that I am that creative. Now that I know that Snapchat exists and has made multi-millionaires out of s few smarty-pants from an elite university, I can relax. Snapchat’s success is overwhelming. I see that more than 700 million photos and words each day die almost as soon as they are born, probably good for what remains of an already eroded American soul.
Here are some things we know. All information is disposable. All deep thought these days is short-term. The attention span of people is fast approaching zero. Even multi-tasking, once a sign of high modernity is under attack because it does not work. Fear not, Snapchat has a plan to remedy all those problems. Snapchat is not resting on its success about furthering nothingness. Called Story, the plan is to cover events and spew out unlimited information about a story over a twenty-four hour span in short bits, and, once complete, whenever that is, then have them disappear never to be heard from again. So much for helping us understand the important issues of the day. Sounds like great fun, especially for the journalists who sign up to work that latest of beats. For the working journalist it beats unemployment.
It comes down to this: I can hardly wait, especially knowing that soon all information will be in the negative zone. Those who run Snapchat will be the richer for it and, here’s the rub, we, the consumers will be even poorer than we now are.