I Joined Snapchat and Learned an Important Lesson

There has been a shift in the wind, and the dad bloggers are heading over to Snapchat. Obviously, this means that Snapchat is no longer cool and will soon die a slow death, but for now you can find me there as thetenordad. Go ahead and add me. It’s okay. We are friends.

So I’m on Snapchat, mostly as a way to network with the other dad bloggers, and I’m trying to navigate my way through this strange new world, through an app that is non-intuitive, through a process that seems new and hard, and all the time I am thinking about the buzzword of the Dad 2.0 blogging conference, “legacy.” In many ways, this is why I write. I want to take the thoughts and experiences of my life and get them down somewhere so that I don’t lose them. So that time and fading memory capacity don’t take them from me. I can’t tell you how many times I have scrolled through a list of old blog posts and said “Oh yeaaaaaah, I remember that day!” Things happen, life moves on, and so much of it is lost. I want my children to read all of this when they are older. I want me to read all of this when I am older! I want to leave something behind.

Okay, so then I sign up for Snapchat, and suddenly I am in the midst of anti-legacy. Everything is posted, and then gone forever. People send you “snaps,” and then they too disappear. Supposedly this is what the younger generation craves. They want only the newest and shiniest thing. They do not care about what happened yesterday, only what is happening right now. Recorded videos? Ha! Try live streaming. That is where we are going. No one wants to see what you did this morning, they want to know where you are now! And I don’t know. Maybe when I was younger I would have been more receptive to the ephemeral nature of this type of communication.

But I don’t think so. I remember my days in college, meticulously copying files from floppy discs to zip discs, to CDs, to DVDs, as I tried very hard not to lose anything I had ever created. Poems, essays, song arrangements, saved game files, pretty much everything. I wanted to save everything. And can I just tell you how awesome it is that I can go back today and read all those emails that my wife and I sent to each other when we were dating? Because I saved them all? What a gift to myself, all of that digital hoarding was. So no, it must be a generational thing. Or maybe the rest of my generation does not care about what they have left behind, and it is only me with a pathological need to be remembered.

One might argue that Snapchat is really just a digital way to have a normal conversation, with a few bells and whistles. If I see you on the street and tell you something, there is no record of that, except in my mind. Now there is an app for that. Is that okay? Maybe we don’t need every little detail of our lives recorded by large companies who are selling our data to anyone and everyone to make an easy buck. Maybe Snapchat is a reaction against having every bit ourselves for sale and online forever. But I will also tell you that if I were offered a device that would record my whole day, every conversation, every moment, I would jump at the chance. No questions asked. I can never remember what people have told me, or where I put my phone, or if the dog has been fed, or if I have washed my hair. I would love to be able to go back and replay all of my days. Would that keep me from living in the present? Perhaps. But I am a collector. I am a would-be hoarder. To have all of my life available in well labeled and categorized files? That sounds amazing to me.

So I joined Snapchat, and I learned what I probably already knew, and what you definitely already knew. I am old. I am not a teenager anymore, as much as I might like to live in denial. I’m not ancient, but I have moved to another chapter of life that doesn’t include understanding the current younger generation. I’m just not that interested in creating something that is going to disappear. I am out of touch. Yesterday I learned from an actual young and cool person that ellipses at the end of a sentence do not mean that you are trailing off, or that the thought is continuing. No, it means you are being passive aggressive. What?! This is not good news for me. I love ending sentences with those three beautiful little dots. To me, they symbolize hope and possibility. But I have most likely been insulting all of my young friends, of whom I have very few. Could this be why? I don’t know. But if you are interested it watching me muddle about on Snapchat, give me a follow and I’ll see if I can’t figure out how to work the dang thing. I am enjoying the “story” feature a bit. But I’m going to focus mostly on this site, and the things I create that will last. Maybe not forever, but for as long as I need them to…

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Posted in Aging, Legacy, Snapchat.

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