How Snap Maps Might Hurt Relationships

by Nia Decaille
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As a generation that has known the internet since birth, it seems like a natural progression to either be paranoid about people knowing everything about you or being completely comfortable as if it's second nature. Either way, privacy is always a conversation with social media becoming too intrusive or even easier to share where you're at and what you're doing. This brings me to my next point: Snapchat's new Snap Maps feature, which allows you to track the locations of other Snapchat users if you turn the feature on, just did the coolest or worst thing ever for relationships.

So whether you choose to rejoice or rant about the new option, it's worth thinking about how your relationships will be impacted. There's something positive to be said about wanting to live your life with a bit of mystery. But how you want to use that privacy is also part of the debate. It isn't like you haven't had the ability to see where a friend posted a photo, but Snap Maps focuses more on where your friends actually are. The problem? Oh, nothing. Just the idea of having your followers or loosely determined "friends" know what you're snapping about and where you're snapping from.

But the other tune some are singing goes a little something like this: If you don't want people to know your every move, fine — don't enable Snap Maps, or if you've changed your mind after you do, turn it off — but then that suddenly begs the question, what do you have to hide? For anything romantic, your partner asking you why you chose to remain in "ghost mode," feels akin to "Why can't we follow each other on ____ ?" It definitely would raise a few red flags of concern about what they don't want you to see. Features like this can present a challenge to the trust you've built with your partner simply with it being available. And wanting to maintain that privacy then presents an issue about trust. See where I'm going with this? Establishing a strong bond is essential in an age of non-stop notifications and sharing, so don't fall for it! This app truly has the power to test your relationship if you have a relationship that isn't based on mutual trust, and you let it.

But this doesn't just apply to the romantic stuff. If you're pretty used to having friends live through your snaps of you enjoying your weekend or a donut on National Donut Day, you're used to the questions. Unfortunately, this new feature can also feed into some bad cases of FOMO. Even if you yourself don't have Snap Maps on, someone you're hanging out with might, and then boom — someone can find you through their Snap Map when your image appears in their feed. So that coffee run becomes "Why wasn't I invited?" or that shopping trip with another friend becomes a play at being a "bad friend" to that friend you go everywhere with. This isn't necessarily on you, but the thought of the headache there is maddening.

But the good news is it matters how you use it — and that goes for all social media apps. You don't have to turn on Snap Maps, even if it's just to see that cute little Actionmoji. While we are on the subject, you can silence those Insta notifications, decline that call, or simply disconnect if you want to — maybe new features as on the nose as Snap Maps will finally convince you that you always have a choice about your self care.

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