I don't see the appeal in Snapchat or Poke

Taylor Martin
 from  Concord, NC
| Published: December 28, 2012

In this day and age, everything leaves a figurative paper trail.

Clearing your browsing history may save you and what you've been ogling from being discovered by your significant other (or your parents if you still live at home). And sexting may seem pretty safe and secure at the time. But there are a lot of ways things can turn south, especially for those who partake in more risqué online behavior. Nothing is permanently deleted because you've disposed of the evidence on your end. Logs of IP address history is stowed by Internet service providers (ISP) for anywhere from six to 18 months. SMS and MMS messages remain on providers' servers for anywhere from a few days to several weeks, possibly longer in somce cases.

I learned a long time ago that if you didn't want something you have done or something you are about to do discovered, it's probably best not to do it at all. And this is why I have never seen the appeal of Snapchat or Facebook's newly released Poke service.

The premise of these two services are exactly the same: send a goofy or bawdy picture or video of yourself to a friend. The images and videos are a one-time-view-only. They last for 10 seconds and are seemingly deleted forever, even from Snapchat's and Facebook's servers. (I use the term deleted very loosely here, as they're not always immediately deleted; their encryption keys are, making them inaccessible after a period of time.)

I've watched people use Snapchat. I sat and watched a girl in my local coffee shop take a half dozen goofy shots for Snapchat and could only think to myself, "Why?"

It may be a different story if I had a significant other. Being goofy when you're in a relationship is an entirely different ballgame – it can be the difference in a very fun and upbeat relationship and a boring, depressing one. I can certainly see how Snapchat or Poke could be fun. But at that point, I don't care if they save the pictures or not. I would just use MMS to share pictures. At that point, Poke and Snapchat have only one purpose: sexting.

I have never sexted. I have received some surprising photos before, sure. But I never partook in it myself and I never will. It's not my thing. It's not classy and, as I've explained, those messages are stored for an undisclosed amount of time.

As far as goofy pictures go, I would never care if someone had a picture of me making a really stupid looking face or doing something insane. It just doesn't bother me, and I see no need for those to only last 10 seconds.  The same goes for videos. They may be embarrassing for a short time, but I'd get over it.

Sending indecent photos through a third-party service is never going to happen, temporary or not. Period. It goes far beyond trust issues. Recipients, for instance, can simply take a screenshot to save a picture. When a screenshot is taken, however, the sender is notified.

In order to temporarily display sent videos and pictures, they must be locally saved to the recipient device. The phone downloads the file from a server and displays it for a short period of time. However, a reddit user discovered through using the free program i-FunBox, you can plug the phone into a PC or Mac and save the files, so long as you don't open them first. The files are unsecured and can be saved permanently for your viewing pleasure.

If there's a will, there will always be a way for someone to save the temporary pictures and videos through Snapchat and Poke. Facebook's response to a BuzzFeed article on the issue from last night explains it perfectly:

"Poke is a fun and easy way to communicate with your friends and is not designed to be a secure messaging system. While Pokes disappear after they are read, there are still ways that people can potentially save them. For example, you could take a screenshot of a photo, in which case the sender is notified. People could also take a photo of a photo you sent them, or a video of a video, with another camera. Because of this, people should think about what they are sending and share responsibly."q

Simply put, Snapchat and Poke are two services I highly doubt I will ever use.

What say you, ladies and gents? Do you use Snapchat? Poke? Do you use Snapchat or Poke for fun, goofy photos and videos? Or are you bold enough to trust the service with more coarse media?

Image via Snapchat