When Snapchat rolled out it quickly acquired a bad reputation for the social media site you used to hide pictures and messages. People used it and quickly learned that when these items "disappear" it's not always forever. Yesterday, Instagram released a new version of Instagram Direct (a feature that allows users to send direct messages to each other) that allows for both permanent messages and those that will eventually disappear in the same feed. Both of these types of direct messages were available separately before, they are just now in the same feed. Text messages cannot be set to disappear, but users can add text to a blank image as a work around.
Last week, I met with the parents at my school about social media and internet usage. The disappearing message and image feature was discussed at length. Parents are concerned that when students see this, they assume the image or message will be gone forever and seemed to be the reason why parents preferred their children to be on Instagram over Snapchat (at least that was the conversation we had). As teachers and parents, we have to make students aware that nothing they post or send is ever really private. SMS text messages, emails, and private social media messages all run the risk of being sent out to the public.
Of course, I would never suggest keeping students away from any social media or application. I just think this is another reason to be having these conversations and using social media responsibly in the classroom. We have to demonstrate what positive usage looks like, and we have to share with students that just because something disappears doesn't mean it goes away forever.
Here is the link to the full story from Tech Crunch about Instagram's update.