Around every corner new social media applications are popping up, making it easier to keep in touch with friends, family and, if you can figure it out, spy on our teenagers. The kicker is that the younger generation creates many of these apps. And they are just young enough to know the limitations of my age set. Those millennials geniuses are aware that their elders are too busy scrolling through Facebook and watching YouTube tutorials on how to appear 10 pounds lighter with the latest Anastasia highlighting kit to have time to learn the ins and outs of Kik, YikYak or Instagram.
It's all I can do to understand Twitter; a highly overrated platform (in my opinion). The truth is, I'm too tired to learn something new. Having so many options isn't always a good thing. I feel the same way about a multi-page restaurant menu. Which happens to be one of the reasons I avoid The Cheesecake Factory.
It makes me nervous thinking about all of the ways my kids can share information with friends and strangers. Much in the same way it gives my children anxiety when one of their friends says, "Your mom liked one of my pics on Insta."
A few weeks ago, one of my closest friends went on and on about how much fun it is to Snapchat. "You can keep up with what your kids are doing. Plus, pics disappear in seconds, so you don't have to worry about looking perfect." Twenty years ago I returned a polaroid that did the same thing, so I'm not sure why the disappearing photo thing is appealing.
Even though there's no time to figure out how to "Snap," I couldn't pass up the opportunity to have one more option to keep in touch with my kids. So I downloaded the app and started adding friends.
The next morning, an alert signaled my very first Snap. It took 20 minutes and four Google searches to figure out how to open it. After viewing the welcome message from Team Snapchat, it disappeared before I could read the "tips" portion included.
By the following week, I had 90 friends and still couldn't figure out how to open a Snap without referring to Google. While it took several dozen tries before I stopped ducking when the camera screen popped up, it only took three days to realize the invite to my 16-year-old son was still pending.
"Why haven't you added me on Snapchat?"
"Because it's weird. It's bad enough my friends have added you!"
"If you don't add me, my imagination runs wild as to the reason why. Kind of like when you don't call to let me know you're going to be late getting home. You could be lying in a ditch somewhere. If you would add me, you could at least Snapchat a photo of the ditch, so I know where to look for you."
"I'm not doing it. I need my privacy."
"I said the same thing every time I had to go the restroom when you and your brother were toddlers. I promise it won't be that bad. Besides, if you don't, I can take your phone away."
After this entirely rational conversation, instead of adding mom or losing his phone, he did the next best thing. He canceled his account. But if he thought this little stunt would thwart my efforts to master the art of Snapping, he was wrong. I'll try again when he reactivates his account. Because I know that's his plan.
If you can show me how to use Snapchat, add @beckywritermama or email email@example.com.