Be Afraid, Teens: Your Parents Are Going to Be on Snapchat Soon

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Photo: Sally Anscombe/Getty Images

Harrowing news today, so I hope you’re sitting down. According to The Wall Street Journal, old people are using Snapchat.

I’ll give you a second to catch your breath. The ancient ones — who have kids of their own, enjoy leaving voice mail, and say words like 401(k) — are signing up for Snapchat, despite the fact that their hips may shatter at any moment.

According to the Journal, Snapchat’s over-35 user base is currently 14 percent of its total, and growing quickly. Three years ago, that number was 2 percent. (Comparatively, the 18–24 demo covers 67.5 percent of Snapchat users.)

This is, to be sure, terrifying. Imagine getting a Snapchat video about auto insurance or a light sweater from some dude who thought the video for Dire Straits’s “Money for Nothing” was cutting edge.

But it is hardly surprising. Here is how the Journal accurately describes Snapchat:

Since its founding five years ago, Snapchat has become a digital mecca for high school and college-age students, allowing them to send photos and videos.

Okay, now replace “Snapchat” with “Facebook” and what you’re left with is a sentence from any social-media article written in 2009.

This is the tech life cycle. Teens, adolescents, college kids, and anyone else with a surplus of free time adopt new social networks uninhabited by their parents, and then those networks grow corpulent enough to attract the parents. And then a new network comes along and all the young people go there. So, bad news: Your mom is going to be lip-syncing Celine Dion on Musical.ly in three years.