If Snapchat has taught users anything, it’s that all things come to an end. This app, which is primarily used by teens and college students, sends messages, photos, and captions that are temporary. They (in theory) self-destruct after a certain amount of time automatically. If this idea really becomes popular and other sites start to promote the idea of being able to erase content, the Internet of the future will look very different to the way we know it today. It would mean that old pictures would not be available if someone felt nostalgic. At the same time, content that someone may not feel very proud of would also be erased. What does Snapchat do? Snapchat automatically deletes photos from its servers after a user has opened them. This is not the norm in the tech industry. When Gmail was first introduced, it did not even have a delete button. The company thought that users would want to store all of their mail forever. Storing all the data generated by Internet users creates a situation where it is ripe for the picking by hackers and other unsavory characters. Having it floating around in cyberspace can also create problems with prospective employers, college admissions officers and fellow Internet users who are likely to make judgments based on a tweet or online comment taken out of context. Real life vs. cyberspace. People are constantly shifting their ideas and personalities from moment to moment in real life, but in cyberspace, each snapshot is captured and held in place. Online, each moment is held in place where it can be held up for examination. For users who want to be able to go back in time and look at family albums from celebrations held years ago, the Snapchat model of the Internet is not going to work. Deleting pictures and other content right away may work in some instances, but it’s not the right thing in all circumstances.