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Snap Map defies all privacy barriers for entertainment

Snap Map defies all privacy barriers for entertainment

While trotting to the office at The Prospector, my phone buzzed with a Snapchat notification from one of my friends. It was from one of those friends who you try to avoid and give the “my bad man, I’m busy at work” excuses to not hang out.

“Hey man, you’re on campus right now? Let’s meet up.”

For a split second I was startled, looked around suspiciously and wondered how he knew I was at UTEP. Then it hit me—I left my Snap Map on public so all my friends on Snapchat could see where I was.

For those of you who are either living under a rock or disconnected from social media platforms, Snapchat’s newest update allows the user to see anyone wherever they are, if they choose to be visible, via GPS map.  Snapchat displays a Bitmoji, which is a self-created avatar of the user, where the user is currently at, and allows the user to see the location of each friend who is on Snap Map.

There are interactive features on this new update, such as Bitmojis being grouped in the same location if more than two users are together or in the same vicinity, Bitmojis will show that they are flying or driving, and even show when the user is sleeping or listening to music by cellular activity. If you don’t want to be seen by anyone, you may put your Bitmoji on “ghost mode.”

“What are you listening to?”

Yes, another chat message from a friend asks me the question as I sit at home with headphones on. When it’s turned on, it feels like privacy is at an all-time low. It begs the question, how can this possibly be a good thing?

How can this be a good thing if you have that crazy ex-girlfriend on Snap Map and when you are staying at another girl’s house, you wake up to an egged car?

Or what if you gave an excuse to your friend who you didn’t want to hang out with when in reality he catches you in a lie as you’re home taking a nap instead?

Now more than ever, you know who lives on the west, east, northeast or central part of town.

Or what about the horrible thought of someone breaking into a house when the person isn’t home, or worse, putting someone at danger from a stalker who has harmful intentions.

Personally, I have about 100 females and 80 males on Snapchat, but only around half of my female friends allow their Snap Map to be public, while a good 80 percent of the males on my Snap Map will share their location.

But then there’s the good—the interconnection that Snap Map could provide. For example, at the Chihuahuas games, one can find other friends who are at the game and meet up with them. Or, as a similar situation happened to me, if your tire is flat, you can see who’s in the area and ask for a ride home.

Another interesting feature about Snap Map is the glowing public location stories that are present. Little blue glowing circles will glow up randomly throughout the city you are zoomed in on and you can see a user’s story from there. Some can be interesting, such as concert videos, festivals or nice photography posted by different users.

And let’s not forget traveling. It’s cool to go off to Austin and see some friends out there you could meet up with. Or the simple enjoyment of  seeing that a friend is across the globe in a new country and following them, in a non-stalker-ish way, through what they do.

Before, Snapchat users had to worry about their significant other finding out that they aren’t in their best friends list. Then, Snapchat users became so petty that they post stories on their profile simply to see if the person they are trying to get the attention of sees it. And now we have Snap Map—something that will truly push the barriers of privacy to a whole new level.

Let’s be honest, no one can actually think this is a good idea. Step back and think—the idea to constantly share your location with the world, let alone your friends, is kind of bizarre.

Some may ask, then why are people turning on Snap Map locations? It’s simple and the same reason that individuals made a Facebook page in early 2012, or the reason that everyone created an Instagram profile in 2013, or the reason that every young adult started Snapchatting in 2014.

The young adult nowadays lives in fear of being left out or the only one not doing something. They justify conformity with the simple idea that “everyone is on it, so why not?” or the thought of just trying it out. But then, they get sucked into it, just like how social media sucks in the social norm and pushes all sorts of boundaries.

To be frank, Snapchat itself is simply trying to be revolutionary in what they do. No one can blame them for being smart in their ideas of innovation and trying to redefine a whole new global change. In reality, this only boosts up Snapchat’s popularity. They’re generating these new ideas to try and connect the world together more than ever before.

Sure, Apple already did a similar concept with the “Find My Friends” app, but it never seemed to generate interest from the majority of people. 

With Snap Map, GPS interconnectivity seems to be more widely accepted and people are willing to leave their location on. People find the Snap Map more aesthetically appealing rather than sharing your locations through an iPhone app.

If Snapchat wanted to, one day they could go rogue and display everyone’s chat history to the public. Scary isn’t it? But users won’t stop going on Snapchat. In fact, this new feature will probably only grow, adding new tips, tricks and incentives.

More and more users will get on; hell, I’m on it and all of my friends are able to see where I am. It will bridge the divide of all boundaries as we know it.

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About the Contributor
Adrian Broaddus, Sports Editor
Adrian Broaddus is the sports editor for The Prospector. He is a junior multimedia journalism major with a minor in political science.   Adrian was born and raised in El Paso, TX, and is a graduate of Franklin high school. He entered college in the fall of 2015 in hopes to better his career in journalism.   Along with sports, Adrian enjoys writing music reviews, perspective columns and news stories on politics.   Although he is pursuing his degree in journalism, Adrian would like to go to law school and be an attorney while doing part-time work in journalism.  
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Snap Map defies all privacy barriers for entertainment