“This is going to sound silly, but I think Snapchat was the most important technology of 2013,” Farhad Manjoo writes for The Wall Street Journal. “It sounds silly because Snapchat is just an app. What’s more, it’s an app used primarily by teens and college students, and wasn’t I telling you just a few weeks ago that young people aren’t good predictors of tech success?”

“Then there’s the question of whether Snapchat is useful at all. Snapchat sends so-called ephemeral messages, photos and captions that disappear a few seconds after the recipient opens them. Self-destructing photos sound like a recipe for mischief. When people first hear about Snapchat, they likely picture acts by a certain disgraced former congressman,” Manjoo writes. “Yet, even if it fails, Snapchat will have been one of the most fascinating services to hit the Internet in years. To me, the app’s exploding popularity suggests that society is yearning for a new way to think about data. Snapchat is one of the first mainstream services to show us that our photos and texts don’t need to stick around forever: that erasing all the digital effluvia generated by our phones and computers can be just as popular a concept as saving it.”

“If the Snapchat model takes off — if other sites and services began to promote the idea of erasability as a competitive feature — the Internet would look very different from the Internet of today,” Manjoo writes. “Do we want to live on that Erasable Internet, the Snapchat Internet, instead of the Internet built by Facebook and Google?”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader "Fred Mertz" for the heads up.]