Monday, March 13, 2017

So Long my Twitter Teen

There was this fun little movement a couple of years ago called #followateen - with the idea being that old fogies like me would follow a random teenager on Twitter to understand what the kids these days are up to. I jumped on board and started following this random HS Junior.
Six years later? Holy moly, this kid is graduating from college this year, but sadly his Twitter account got hacked last week. He has been retweeting also sorts of promotional content - much of it is in Russian and Chinese. Fun times, but I think the adventure has ended. It was a good run.
What did I learn from my six years following a teen? I watched his account slowly become less and less active over that time - I assume it was because Twitter got replaced for these kids by Snapchat and other closed-network ephemeral messaging systems.
My generation came online and passed down the warning, "everything you do online will be seen by your parents, your employer, and your children. Post safely." The younger crowd saw that warning and said, "none of that!" and went on to find ways to bring the casualness back to interaction through services that aren't public and that expire. Let a silly in-the-moment event be lost with the moment and not catalogued forever.
It's funny that this culture hasn't bubbled up. I want to be hip like the kids, but no one in my social circles of old kurmudgen technologist wants to move on to the slick newness of it all. Heck, we're barely one step away from using a private IRC server for our communication.