'Old People' Are Coming To Snapchat. Head For The Hills!

Seriously? Why are we letting people get away with blatant ageism?

Older users have discovered Snapchat and the reports couldn't be grimmer.

"Snapchat Is About To Be Overrun With Olds," warns Gizmodo.

"Snapchat’s Teen Fans Wince as App Catches On With Their Folks," chimes in the Wall Street Journal.

"Sorry teens, olds are slowly taking over Snapchat," apologizes TheNextWeb.

The Christian Science Monitor at least had the decency to put "old" in quotes when it wrote: "Is Snapchat becoming overrun with 'old' people?" -- although grammatically speaking, quote marks are the sole purview of repeating someone's speech verbatim and shouldn't ever be used for emphasis or to mean "hey, this isn't really us calling you 'old'."

And of course there was this one from MediaPost: "OMG Snapchat Is Full Of Lame Old People Now Too," although in this case, there may have been a bit of facetiousness involved. At least we hope so.

The story, of course, is that older people increasingly are using social media sites -- in this case the messaging app Snapchat. comScore recently reported that about 69 percent of U.S. smartphone users age 18 to 24 are on Snapchat (comScore doesn't track those under 18) but so are at least 14 percent of U.S. smartphone users over the geriatric age of 35. This fact has apparently upset at least some teens.

I get it. I honestly do. As those of us who still have memories will attest, kids need their privacy. I'm totally down with that. In fact, I have always respected what a closed bedroom door meant -- even if my children never extended me the same courtesy.

But what I'm not down with is the blatant and unabashed ageism that permeates these discussions.

When did the word "olds" become an acceptable term? Can we re-read that Gizmodo headline substituting the word "olds" with "blacks/Latinos/gays/trans/women?" "Snapchat Is About To Be Overrun With Olds." How many calls would the ACLU get over that one?

And no, it's not a joke. Nor is it harmless. It is not OK to diss older people. Ageism is the same as any other "ism" -- which means it's based on an untruth that brings comfort to someone who isn't part of the group being stereotyped. Blacks aren't lazy. Jews aren't rich. Gays aren't pedophiles. And people in their 50s, 60s, 70s and yes 80s are not social media illiterate. As for younger people not wanting them there and calling them "olds," that's just the equivalent of the signs by the water fountain saying "no coloreds allowed." Dude, we are allowed. And for the record, Facebook didn't exactly crawl up in a black hole and die when we started showing up there, now did it?

People with money will always be welcome on any platform that wants to survive. And teenagers should probably get used to it. If the presence of older people makes anyone uncomfortable, well, that's on them. With longevity increasing, there's a good chance that older people are going to be around for a good long while -- getting older, in fact. I'd remind everyone that in many cultures, older people are seen as fountains of wisdom. They are valued for their contributions and experience. They are living textbooks from which to learn. Their age is considered an asset, not a liability. And they are treated with respect -- which doesn't include being referred to as "olds" -- even when they show up on Snapchat.


Photographer Captures Family's Social Media Habits In Eye-Opening Photos

Popular in the Community