Snapchat released an update Wednesday, and with it unveiled a new feature called “Snap Map.” This new feature allows users to see their friends’ locations and view exciting things that may be happening all over the world. Snapchat says it wanted to give its users “a whole new way to explore the world.” What do you think, creepy or convenient?
To Access Snap Map
- Open the app and set the camera to selfie mode.
- From there, zoom out. Or pinch your fingers from the outside of the screen, inwards.
- The feature will load and give you a quick overview of settings and how to use the map.
Cool! Everyone you have on Snapchat can see where you are and visa-versa. Creepy, huh? That's what I thought.
Not to worry though, there are settings that allow you to turn your location off, or only make it visible to select friends if you're not too big on the idea of everyone knowing where you are.
For Further Snap Map Settings:
- Go to the top right hand corner and click on the 'settings' icon.
- From there you have the option to enable or disable "Ghost Mode" which will hide your location.
- Further options allow you to choose to share your location with all your friends, or select a few specific friends.
Within the first hour of updating my Snapchat and using the Map, I quickly realized it’s not a feature I’d be interested in using very often. With all the craziness going on in the world today, you never know what intentions people have. In my opinion, the Map is perfect for a stalker, or a crazy girlfriend/boyfriend, but not for someone like me who’s painfully aware of the frightening world we live in.
Heat Map Feature
Not only can you see where your friends are, but other Snapchat users have the option to upload snaps to where ever they are on the map, so everyone (friends or not) can see. They appear as heat spots that show to be more hot when a lot of Snapchats have been uploaded in that location. I looked at it myself and ventured to my hometown and other surrounding cities. I found a few heat spots near my home, and while yawning, I watched someone drive down a familiar road, someone else pet their dog, and people in a car waving to the camera; while across town I watched with jealousy as people were riding roller coasters at Six Flags and seeing exotic animals at the zoo.
"A great way for people with bad intentions to make their advances easier."
I asked a few friends, who are consistent Snapchat users, what they thought of the new feature. They all seemed to agree it’s more creepy than convenient. Fellow Snapper C. Malloy thinks it’s “a great way for people with bad intentions to make their advances easier.” With so many people out there, and surely a few you don’t truly know on your friends list, you’re setting yourself up for a potentially risky situation, or as Malloy puts it, a “cheater’s nightmare if they aren’t on ghost mode!” Malloy continued by making a good point, “Why do we need to see where other people are? If you’re close to someone, then you can just text them and ask.”
"There are definitely privacy concerns to be aware of."
I gathered feedback from the opposite side of the spectrum as well, including co-workers who aren’t very familiar with Snapchat. After running through the basics of Snapchat, and the new SnapMap feature, their feedback was aggressively negative, stating, “This is the dumbest thing I have ever seen,” and emphasizing the importance of potential danger that this feature could ignite. They agreed that “millennials or people who use Snapchat a lot will use it, but there are definitely privacy concerns that parents of teens using Snapchat should be aware of.”
Snap Map only updates your location when Snapchat is open, so keep that in mind before you jump to any conclusions about where someone may be. Another thing to keep in mind (above all) is your safety when using this feature. Try adjusting the settings so your location is only shared with selected friends. Therefore, in case something was to happen, only the people who really need to know your location will be able to see it.
Better to be Safe than Sorry
Sure, it may be a great tool for parents who have Snapchat to see the whereabouts of their kids, or crazy boyfriends/girlfriends, or maybe a more personal way for Snappers to see what’s going on around the world. But is it completely necessary and safe to use? In my opinion no, and I’ll stick to my motto of being safe rather than sorry.