I've had a Snapchat for about 2.5 years and have been aware of the "Snap Map" feature for around 2 years, but quite frankly, that feature has got to go.
In all honesty, I've had a great deal of fun with the Snap Map. I enjoy watching my campus story and seeing the guy from my club or the girl who sits next to me in my political science class. I've watched videos of chickens in Louisiana, bullfighting videos in Mexico, cute babies running around at somebody's house in West Virginia, and even footage of the Tierra del Fuego, one of the southernmost points of South America. Where else could we see that?
However, with our ability to see each other's location, the Snap Map is doing more harm than good in our generation and now more than ever, I realize how damaging it has been to me personally and to my friends and acquaintances.
And I am saying this as somebody who shares her location from time to time.
Often, I don't care if you know if I'm in my room or eating lunch at the dining hall or in class or shopping downtown. In fact, I'd be pretty flattered if you're that interested in knowing my whereabouts. Yet, there are those few times that occur weekly or every few weeks or months where the Snap Map proves itself to be one of the most toxic things to ever happen to social media.
Let's think about the weekend.
Unless you're in a very lucky minority, you've probably experienced times where you were not invited to a party, a social, a gathering of any sort and you wish you had been. In the olden days, if you heard people talking about it, you'd get a little sad. However, if you didn't happen to overhear the conversations, you got to stay content in your blissful ignorance. Thanks to the emergence of the Snap Map, you'll always conveniently see when you weren't invited to a party when you see a cluster of your friends' Bitmojis somewhere. You can thank Snapchat for unveiling the ugly truth, and you debate whether to shoot a "sick invite" to whichever friend is the culprit.
There's also the periodic shame of not going out.
It's glorious when you're absolutely *swamped* with work on a Saturday night and can't make that fun party. Way back when you could covertly do your work and hope whoever was at the party was having fun. Of course, thanks to the Snap Map, you'll know exactly who is at the party and, even worse, they will all know that you're in your room studying unless you remember to turn your location off. You can have the feeling that you're the only one who didn't go out a certain weekend, but now you can just see with your own eyes that you're the only one who didn't go out. Isn't it great when Snapchat exposes us when we just want to get some studying done?
Overall, the Snap Map creates a very unhealthy mentality that quite frankly needs to end.
You're embarrassed that you're staying in, so you better turn your location off. You want to show the world that you're at that crazy party, so you better turn it on. You see the crowd of your friends somewhere that you're not. You check the location to see who's place it is and decide if it's best to confront them. You are endlessly hung up on where your crush/boyfriend/girlfriend is at any given point of the day and obsess about why his or her location has not been updated in two whole hours.
So, maybe Snapchat should do us a favor and not show us what our friends are doing or show our friends what we're doing. It has perpetuated the toxic social media culture of feeling inadequate that is ruining our behavior, emotions, and overall sanity. And maybe for our own health, it is time for us to stop looking at where our friends are and what they might be doing. All day. Everyday.