By Olabisi Olaleye & Christy Dada with additional Agency reports
Every day, new apps such as Tango, Badoo, Mobo, Snapchat and other platforms that entail chatting, image and video sharing and networking spring on board, thereby increasing subscribers appetite to post gongs-ons in theri lives.
However, before the advent of social media platforms (SMPs) like Whatsapp, 2go, Twitter, Instagram, Wechat and Snapchat, Facebook was the first to come on board where users could post comments, pictures, videos, make new friends as well as communicate with loved ones. This made the transmission of information easier and faster.
However, SMPs are becoming a disreuptive force in many people’s lives.
While there are lots of benefits, there are also drawbacks to SMPs including loss of privacy, information/identity theft, cyberfraud, cyberbullying and stalking. Stalkers are always prowling the platforms, especially Snapchat, to prune easy prey who post “all things about everything” online.
Snapchat is a photo-messaging app that lets users send images and videos that disappear after a set amount of time.
The app was founded by Evan Spiegel in 2011 and is a popular way for young people to communicate using more than written text in which users can send snaps to multiple friends at once or add them to their stories, a feed of the images they have recently posted that can be watched by anyone who follows them. They can also send private messages, and make voice and video calls.
When Snapchat first launched its Snap Maps feature, it was derided by parents and privacy advocates as a way to stalk people, particularly vulnerable teens. Maps, which is accessed by pinching in on the app’s main camera screen, used Snapchat’s sophisticated geolocation data to show a user’s exact location in the form of a cartoon bitmoji. The data was so specific that you could pinpoint a friend’s location in a building or on a particular block. Users have the choice to appear on the map or appear only to friends. Still, people were spooked.
Snapchat Maps displays the specific location of snaps shared to the public Our Story stream. That means users can zoom in on any location in the world to see what photos and videos people are posting. The Snapchatters are anonymous, and users can’t reply to them, but Snapchat’s geolocation and timestamp feature ensures that it came from that particular location at a particular point in time. Uploading a snap to Our Story cannot be done retroactively, so there is relative certainty that an image that appears on the map was taken recently. A heat map feature shows where snaps are most concentrated, and users can pinch and zoom with their fingers to move around and focus on particular areas. Snap Maps provides a verifiable account of what is happening anywhere in the world.
In Houston, Texas, United States, where hurricane Harvey left floods and devastation recently, a quick search on the map puts users right in the convention centre where thousands of people are seeking shelter and volunteers are hard at work sorting supplies. Or you can hover over different neighborhoods to watch people being rescued from submerged houses by rescuers in boats. You can see users posting locations of power outages. You can watch the floodwaters rise or recede through the eyes of Snapchatters posting from a particular location over time. You can peer into people’s houses and watch as they sift through damaged furniture and mementos.
All these features attracts young people. It can be said that this particular SMP has it advantages and disadvantages, one the advantages is that it helps to share information to other social media platforms. Through Snapchat you can know those who view your page and it is a good platform to market your products. One of the disadvantages is that it can be addictive, people can easily hack into your account, which can lead to financial losses and loss of privacy and even death.
It is believed that youth of this generation are addicted to social media and as a result they get stalked, even on Snapchat. They get stalked because they make everything about themselves public, they also derive pleasure in monitoring other people’s lives.
Recall that two girls, 13-year-old Abigail WIlliams and 14-year-old Liberty German, vanished after posting pictures of themselves hiking in an isolated spot in Indiana, US, and their bodies were found on Valentine’s Day.
Okezie Sophia, a Snapchat user, told Daily Sun that she was addicted to the app and it has afforded her the opportunity to market her cream products.
“Since I started advertising my cream products on Snapchat, I have been getting lot of calls for the products and sales generated using this platform have been tremendous. Even when I go to parties, I post what is happening at that moment. I think it is now my new addiction apart from Facebook,” she said.