Last week, Snapchat released Snap Map, a new feature that allows users to share on a map their current or recent location with friends.
Once you opt-in to the location revealing service your friends will see your Bitmoji wherever you most recently opened the Snap Map. Likewise, you’ll see any of your friends who’ve decided they want you to see them. Early news around the opt-in feature has, understandably, been focused mostly on privacy concerns.
Another cool feature of Snap Map is you’ll see heat blobs on the map wherever public snaps are being produced. The more snaps in a location, the deeper the red. If only a handful of snaps occurred in a location the blob will be a barely visible faint blue. Being able to see what people are snapping around the world can be…addicting.
While hovering over Iran on Friday night I noticed a faint blue glow on Snap Map over Iran’s Miankaleh Wildlife Sanctuary and Wetland. Snapchat, like many social networks, is technically filtered in the country, but it’s easily accessible through a VPN. The video itself (it was gone by the time I sat down to write this) was simply a waterfall pouring into a pool of water. It was a tranquil window into the life of a stranger 7500 miles away. Soon I was swiping from country to country looking for little windows into the lives of others.
My night of Snap map digital voyeurism taught me many things about what people like to Snap, but there was one unifying theme across the globe. I’ll get to that in a moment, but first, this is what an evening of Snap Map swiping discovered.
…like this macaque monkey chilling in Kyoto’s monkey park.
…and this South African beach where you can hang out with penguins.
…or this chihuahua pupper in, wait for it, CHIHUAHUA, MEXICO.
(seriously, this was the first snap to play when I clicked on Chihuahua.)
…sled dogs training in Canada.
…beautiful lorikeets hanging out porch side in Queensland.
…And the, uh, dinosaurs of Kazakhstan?
The dream of the 90s is alive in Madison, Wisconsin where the entire city appeared to be grooving at a Hootie and the Blowfish concert.
…and in Lafayette, Louisiana they’re still two-stepping to Garth Brooks.
…and Tech N9ne making Fairbanks, Alaska “Come Gangsta.”
(guessing “Caribou Lou” is especially popular)
…and Michigan’s Electric Forest all hours of the day and night.
…and, uh, the Funky Bunny was very popular in Melbourne.
…relaxing in Wollongong and gazing at the Tasman Sea.
…taking in Mombasa’s harbor.
…and Panama City’s skyline.
…of course, the Grand Canyon.
…the majestic waterfalls of Iceland.
…and Tbilisi, Georgia loves you!
So what was the unifying Snap Map theme? Fidget Spinners have conquered the world.
In nearly every country I explored I’d find someone showing off “fidget spinner skills.” Fidget Spinners are in Iraq…
…fidget spinners are in Russia…
…fidget spinners are in France…
…fidget spinners are in Colombia…
…fidget spinners are in Japan…
…fidget spinners are in India…
…and fidget spinners are in Somaliland.
Remember that episode of Simpsons where the Furbies were really a plot to take over the world?