by Graham Pierrepoint
Snapchat is arguably one of the fastest-growing social media apps and networks on the planet, having competed with the likes of WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger to captivate millions of young people all over the world. Starting out as an app which allowed you to share time-sensitive photos with a select audience, the brand has since expanded to allow users to really show off their personality in unique and exciting ways – even if it means a few of those infamous filters being thrown about from time to time! It’s become such a huge player in the market that they have dodged an attempted purchase by Facebook, while rivals continue to look to the little white ghost for inspiration on where to go next with appealing to the social media generation. Snapchat, on the whole, is quick and easy to use – and it’s this appeal that is largely being aped now across the industry years after its release.
This week, the app introduced another new feature into its arsenal with Snap Maps – where users can track their followers and followings on a world map through location tags. Snapchat themselves describe the new venture as an opportunity for users to ‘get inspired to go on an adventure’ – and that they have effectively ‘built a whole new way to explore the world’. Snapchatters can set visibility settings for the feature, meaning that anyone hoping to stay private can do so with ease.
This news will come of some comfort to those who continue to worry about their outward presence to the world through online media – and particularly as the emergence of the new twist is causing some concern among those looking to try and protect children online. Criticisms leveled at the feature point out that they could raise considerable safety alarms for parents – particularly as it could mean that young users inadvertently project their location to strangers using the service. Safety experts in particular have advised that users refrain from sharing their location with those who they have not met in person.
As technology, apps and social media continue to evolve, so do our means of protecting our privacy – and while Snap Maps bring a fantastic new way for people to connect with each other, it remains to be said that anyone keen on keeping their business close-knit could do well to refrain from sharing their location.