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Socialmaps Is A Stalker's Dream

The Modern Way To Gatecrash

If there’s one thing my real world acquaintances and online friends have in common, it’s that they never, ever want to see me in real life. Since the dawn of the internet, this has been a relatively simple process: they just refuse to tell me where they are. Luckily for me, an upcoming social media app will stop it being their choice.

Allow me to introduce Socialmaps.
The app was created by a Swedish start-up of the same name, and it will soon mean that everyone using social media within a 2.5 kilometre range of me will be flagged up in real time, showing me where they are, what website they're using and what they're using it to do. And there was me thinking I’d need to upgrade my camera lens if I want to start taking this stalking thing seriously.

According to an interview with BBC Tech, Socialmaps’ creators want people to use the service to actually meet up, instead of remaining perpetually separated from their friends by their screens. Apparently, we often don’t see what our friends have been doing until “it’s too late” to actually join them. To combat this, the app will send a notification whenever an online friend in your vicinity checks into somewhere. If my friends make a status about being at, say, a bowling alley, Socialmaps will tell me in case I want to join in.

Of course, the likelihood is that I already know, and receiving a notification will only serve as a cruel reminder that I haven't been invited. Thanks, Socialmaps.

The app will trawl through more than just your Facebook. According to its creators, we don't have the time or patience to search through all of the social media websites, all of the time. To help, they'll look at Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and even Google+ (where I guess I technically have just as many friends as everywhere else). Once they find a contact in your area actively doing a thing, they'll send a notification so you know.
When quizzed why people would want an army of Twitter followers or Instagram food-snappers knowing where they are, Socialmaps' rep claimed that if people have location settings on, they're publicly broadcasting their locale anyway. Socialmaps just uses this information as a tool to help you actually meet up with them.

Quite how closely all this links with literal, actual, genuine stalking is up to your discretion. If you ask me, the answer is a lot.

Worryingly, Socialmaps isn’t the first social media app to have such questionable intentions. There are a whole host of incredibly creepy apps out there designed specifically to help us follow our fellow human beings around. While Socialmaps is less guilty than apps like Cell Phone Tracker and GPS Phone Tracker, I can't help but feel that it just about falls onto the wrong side of eerie.

If my three Twitter followers gatecrash my next trip to the cinema, I'm not sure I’d enjoy it too much. Saying that, it would be nice to have some company for a change.


Emile is a postgrad from the University of Saint Mark and Saint John. He’s hoping to break into journalism or publishing, and won’t stop blogging until he’s managed it! Follow him @EmileAtSMF.

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Socialmaps Is A Stalker's Dream Reviewed by Emile Cole on Thursday, October 23, 2014 Rating: 5
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