Snapchat, and now Facebook’s Poke, are fast becoming the more popular way to share our photos with friends and for some people, strangers too. At first glance we like to think that they avoid some of the perils of regular photo sharing apps, but once again, nothing we do online is ever that safe or clear cut.
What is Snapchat and Poke?
Snapchat has been around for a few years but has only recently been adopted wholeheartedly, largely by the teen and younger demographic of photo sharers. Both Snapchat, and Poke, which Faebook released last week to rival the popularity of Snapchat, are basically apps which allow you to take a photo, choose who to send it to and decide how long that photo is available for them to see before it self destructs and is no longer visible.
Text and video messages can also be sent, and you decide whether they are visible for 1,3,5 or 10 seconds. You are also limited to the number of people the message can be sent to.
Sounds better than having a photo that may have been sent on a whim hanging around cyberspace for many, many years to come. It saves us worrying about who may find the photo in the future. But like everything on the online world, we need to be just a little wary and at least alert to some of the dangers. You see, whilst you may choose who is viewing your photo and for how long it is available for them to see, it only takes 1 second for them to take a screen shot and the photo takes on a life like any other that is uploaded online. You are alerted when someone takes a screenshot, but powerless to do anything about retrieving the image.
Whilst this is not an issue for many users, and most are having lots of fun sending goofy photos and messages that are quicker than SMS messaging, these apps have been nicknamed the ‘sexting’ apps by some (it didnt help the reputation when the early marketing images used to promote Snapchat were of scantily clad girls in bikinis). But whatever the intention, many are proving more willing to send provocative photos, believing they will be invisible within seconds.
Once again, probably a good idea to heed to the rule……”if you don’t want anyone or everyone to see it….don’t hit send!”