(Geo)Tag: You’re It
Did you know that Instagram Stories are used by more than half a billion people each day? Instagram Stories are videos or images posted for a set, temporary amount of time. They may include geotags indicating one’s whereabouts, often in real time. Stories are essentially a play-by-play of what an Instagram user is doing, and due to their ephemerality, are often posted closer to the time of the experience than photos that remain in a user's grid.
Dynamic story platforms are definitely hot and while Snapchat did it first, this feature leaves room for concern. Geotagging content on social media may seem innocuous but if posted in real time, a user's location is now exposed and that may open the door to stalking, kidnapping, or even theft simply by telling people when you are and aren’t home.
Likewise, Snapchat’s “Snap Map” feature displays the exact whereabouts of its users from the last time they opened the app and while that may seem fun, it is an invasion of privacy disguised as a colorful, bitmoji saturated map.
Takeaways: The quick-pic-and-post mentality is dangerous; wait until you’re no longer in the location of your photos before posting stories that give away geographical information. Utilize the app’s privacy settings to curate a list of those you want viewing your stories. Keep Snapchat accounts on privacy mode so your avatar is hidden from the map. Parents of young teens should pay close attention to their social media privacy settings and teach them how to curate the list so they only share images, videos, and snaps with people they truly know.