I recently had the interesting thought of what it would be like to try to explain social media to my grandpa.
Me: So, Twitter is a platform where people tweet out their thoughts.
Grandpa: I thought this was about the Internet. Are we talking about birds now?
Me: No, no. So, imagine a diary. But, instead of writing all these personal thoughts into a notebook that only you will ever see, you put the thoughts out onto the Internet for EVERYONE to see.
Grandpa: So, you put your personal information about yourself, out into the public on purpose? Like it’s not an accident?
Me: Yes. So, like, any opinion that you have on anything, you can just put that thought out into the world. This is all public information that anyone can see, like, say, a potential future employer.
Grandpa: You guys do a lot of drugs, huh?
Me: So, Instagram is for photos. It’s basically the same concept as Twitter, but with pictures. You like to take pictures, right grandpa?
Grandpa: Not really, but I do like to capture things that I may not see everyday. What kind of pictures do people post?
Me: Well, people mostly just post pictures of their own faces, they’re called selfies.
Grandpa: Hmm, “selfie”? Sounds a lot like the word “selfish”.
Me: Well, yeah. They post them so other people will tell them how good they look.
Grandpa: And these people aren’t embarrassed or ashamed? Or in a mental asylum?
Me: No, on the contrary, a lot of them will post a selfie and caption it: “No shame”. They will post one about every day or two.
Grandpa: You’re making this shit up.
Me: So, Facebook is basically just a combination of Twitter and Instagram. You pretty much just give people updates on your life and what you’re doing.
Grandpa: You update people on your life? But, these people do know that nobody gives a shit, right? And if this one does the same thing as the other two, why does anybody have the Twatter and Shitstagram ones?
Me: Well, because you have to try to get as much attention as possible. You’re a loser if you’re not updating, posting pictures, and tweeting about yourself!
Grandpa: Seems like it should be the other way around, but what do I know. I just fought in a war.
Me: Alright, so this one is picture based, too. But instead of everything being public, you only send the picture to someone that you want to see it.
Grandpa: Okay, but what’s the point? Can’t you just do that with your fancy Mp3 ipod picture telephones?
Me: Well, it’s special because the pictures disappear after a few seconds and the other person can’t see it again. So, you know, people use it to send… naughty pictures.
Grandpa: Where do I sign up for a Snapchat?