The internet can be a tricky place, and many of us have been stung by old messages, photos or comments that have lingered a little too long. After all, what is put online stays online.

Why does this have to be the case? Why can’t we make the web a bit more like real life, a bit more… temporary?

Well you might have heard of apps like SnapChat or Facebook Poke which promise to provide a messaging service that will ‘forget’. These apps work on the idea that a message, image or video will self destruct (very Mission Impossible) after being viewed.

At least in theory.

There have been a lot of stories about risqué pictures sent in a moment of madness being saved on SnapChat or Facebook Poke, leading to big problems for foolhardy chatters.

You may think that your message will disappear forever but capturing an embarrassing picture is really not rocket science and can be as easy as taking a screen snapshot.

I think Snapchat and Facebook Poke are paving the way for a new wave of communication that allows users to be more spontaneous online but it’s important to remember that you shouldn’t leave yourself vulnerable just because you are promised something is temporary.

Here are three tips for keeping yourself safe while enjoying the luxury of temporary messaging.

1. Don’t. Just Don’t.

Sending someone naked pictures of yourself or even your individual organs will always be funny but it will sadly always be a risk, whichever app you’re using. This is not a smart move.

2. Use your head.

Just because a message or video will disappear, doesn’t mean you should lose all bearing about what it is. Temporary messaging is not a license to bully, harass or send bank details to someone. Be spontaneous, not stupid.

3. Facetime.

Yes communication tools have come a long way, and we can share things with people instantly around the world but there’s no substitute for actually being with someone and talking to them. And then if you want to show them your body parts, you can do so, behind closed doors.


Do you think apps like SnapChat encourage bad behaviour online? Do you think we share too much of our lives through our mobiles? Could you live without your mobile or tablet?