Unless Instagram stories have completely destroyed Snapchat for you, you must have noticed that Snapchat recently added a snap map feature, which allows you to see the location of your friends and explore snapstories from around the world. The feature is opt–in, meaning that you have to specifically give Snapchat your permission to display your bitmoji on the map (or your sad outline of a person, if you’re one of those people who still hasn’t made a bitmoji).
The information you’re giving Snapchat hasn’t changed. Snapchat only updates and accesses your location while you’re using the app, which it was already doing to provide you with filters so everyone knows that yes, you really are in New York! But if you’re using filters, you can control who exactly knows where you are at any given point in time; if you let all your friends see your location on the map, you lose that option. Everyone knows exactly where you are, as long as you’ve opened the app in the past eight hours. The map is frighteningly accurate–if they zoom in, your friends can see what street you’re on and get within a few buildings of your precise address.
Only mutual friends can see each other’s locations, so if you aren’t friends with a ton of people, this might not be a concern for you. If you’re Snapchat friends with people who you danced with on an elevated surface once during freshman NSO and haven’t spoken to since, you might want to consider other options. Your friends can screenshot your location on the map and send it to anyone—and you don’t get a notification, so there’s no way to know if/when this happens.
If you don’t want to be on ghost mode, but hate the idea of everyone knowing exactly where you are practically 24/7, selecting specific friends who can see your location is a good option. Snapchat even gives you a quick shortcut, where you can see which of your friends are allowing you to see their location, and choose from there. If you’re not sure which option is best for you, Street has some suggestions to help you decide.
You should probably be on ghost mode if:
- You have a ton of friends but are too lazy to be bothered with selecting exactly who can see your location.
- You don’t want anyone, even your best friend, to be able to text you and say “Are you at the gym with ____?”
- You don’t have a bitmoji, and you’re ruining the aesthetic on everyone’s maps goddammit.
You should let all your friends see your location if:
- You literally have nothing to hide and even the most conniving campaign manager wouldn’t be able to turn up dirt on you in an election.
- You are that friend. The one who is always disappearing and has everyone thinking that you're lying half dead in a ditch somewhere but miraculously turns up fine the next morning with a crazy story. You have the right to your privacy, but your friends might appreciate knowing you are definitely not dead.
- You are abroad, and want everyone to be reminded as often as possible that you are abroad having a life changing experience while they are wasting away their youth in Philly.
- You are a fuckboy who wants women to believe that he has nothing to hide (Hint: don’t open Snapchat when you’re with someone else to keep this façade up).
- You don’t mind broadcasting your location/dirty laundry to all your friends, family and acquaintances, in which case you are a braver soul than we are, and Street doesn’t know whether to admire or fear you.
If none of the above apply to you, take five minutes and handpick the people who you’ll let see your location. You’ll thank us later, particularly if you’re one of the poor souls who are friends with your parents on Snapchat and skip class/walk past 40th Street/stay out past midnight not at the library.