Students swap Webkinz for Snapchat

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Students swap Webkinz for Snapchat

Jane Levy, Features Editor

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A moment of silence, please, for the days in which young middle school students huddled over desktop Dells, nurturing penguins and animals, delved into the world of asking anonymous questions via Formspring, and made their Facebook statuses “Like for a TBH” and posted on each and every Facebook wall of the one hundred friends who liked it.

These middle schoolers blossomed into the seniors of 2014, who now send embarrassing selfies for no more than 10 seconds on Snapchat, spend time choosing the perfect filter for their Granola Bar yogurt parfait on Instagram, and hashtag with no end on twitter.

#PolarPlunge #Throwback #Swerve #LOL#TomBrady#MileyCyrus #ThriftShop #Word

As they graduate from Staples, the seniors reflect on how Webkinz turned into Snapchat and Formspring became Instagram and their overall experiences with the ever-changing world of socialmedia.

A Webkinz  addiction the day, Elizabeth Coogan ’14 spent hours on end redesigning her house, interacting with other players, and dominating a treasure hunt game with her beloved pigs and puppies. “I vividly remember the day when I found my last gem and completed the decorations for the crown which was the finalprize,” Coogan recalled. The crown had empty spaces for as many as 20 jewels, she said.“It took forever.”

As it’s not exactly socially acceptable to pile an array of fourteen stuffed animals soon on her bed anymore, Coogan’s Webkinz have retired to the basement and the jewels are all a fleeting memory.

Coogan now spends her time scrolling through her Instagram feed and chatting on Facebook, and though she longs to care for her lions and tigers, she appreciates the freedom of speech that stems from the new social media. On Webkinz, interaction was limited to a prewritten phrase like “hey what’s up!” Coogan recalled. Now, students fingertips tap at the speed of light, communicating and expressing ideas on Facebook and Twitter.

Frequent Facebook and Snapchat user MaddyRozynek ’14 reminisces about the time when social media was “only about playing games and maybe sending chain emails to friends” and how now as a senior, “it’s about who will have the cutest Instagram toTBT (Throw-back Thursday) or whose tweet is the funniest.” Rozynek can’t contain her laughter upon reading tweets by fellow senior Katelyn Farnen ’14; onApril17, Farnentweeted: “I’d give an arm and two legs to be able to read my formspring from middle school just onelast time”and got 29 favorites

Although he’s not as in to social media as Coogan and Rozynek, Robby Vallone ’14 noted that Facebook’s popularity has diminished as other forms of social media have emerged. Not usually swooped up in the vortex of social media, Vallone was blown away by Staples students’ use of Yik Yak and Gaggle. It  will definitely be one of my biggest memories of social media at Staples,” he said.

In middle school and early high school, all people knew was that their friends were sitting behind a screen. Coogan recognizes how Facebook, Snapchat and many other social media forums allow a person to physically see where people are and what they’re doing. “We are just much more aware of the lives and events of others because of the new social media.”  

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