these are fast times. In the world of 5G, the slowpokes are floundering – forego any iOS updates and you’ll feel utterly out of place.
Social media continues to accelerate and you don’t want to be left behind. Last month, WhatsApp launched a new feature called Status, which prompts you to download photos and videos that disappear after 24 hours. Users will see updates from all contacts appear on a status home page.
In turn, anyone who uses Snapchat (or has heard of it) has noticed that WhatsApp’s update is virtually identical to Snapchat’s “Stories” feature: on both, images and videos flow. after a day, and both platforms offer filters to overwrite selfies with text, or free colored squiggles, or annotating them with emojis.
All of this, in turn, looks remarkably similar to what Instagram is doing with its version of the exact same feature, which it launched in August. Facebook – which owns Instagram – is reportedly planning the same for News Feed. For now, as a waiting update, you can already send photos using a built-in camera to its messaging feature without leaving the platform. You can edit these photos with filters, text and emojis.
The result is frenetic and ephemeral. Every evening, you half-heartedly log on to Instagram while you wait for the bus; you tap one of the moving heads at the top of your screen and are quickly whisked into a high-speed retrospective of the last 24 hours of someone’s life, whether you know them or not.
The opening video is choppy – sometimes poorly lit – but that doesn’t matter, because it’s already over and you’re watching a high-production version of their weekend brunch. Come back tomorrow and it’s all over anyway.
Live streams are even faster. Depending on your notification settings, you can be notified as soon as a Facebook or Instagram account starts a live stream, prompting you to tune in before you miss it.
If you follow news organizations on either platform, the relentless news cycle is likely draining your battery when you’re called and obediently do so to watch yet another new goof, lecture, or speech. . The thrill – and the panic – are palpable.
How do you continue? Sadly, even Luddites recognize they need to join the sprint: before long, friends will be sending out engagement notifications and birthday invites via stories and live streams. Disable yourself and you will likely be excommunicated.
If the rapid pace of updates leaves you speechless, consider rationing: put your phone on “do not disturb” mode and you won’t get notifications unless you check them manually. On the other hand, as we know, it could mean that you quickly become useless.
You can’t beat them – you have to sign up. Sure, sharing a short-term montage of your past 24 hours may seem futile, navel-gazing, and involved, but you have to overcome your reluctance. Start with an impersonal image – something sure, like your commute – and you’ll, inevitably, end up being yourself in the karaoke booth of a bowling alley. High-speed diversions are good for the brand.
Follow Phoebe Luckhurst on Twitter: @phoebeluckhurst