Location, Location, Location

Location is in.

These days, the popular word on the [social media] street is…what street you’re on! Location-based social networks like Foursquare, Gowalla, Brightkite, and Loopt continue to gain popularity, coverage in the media, and support from companies. These networks are designed to allow you to broadcast your location from your mobile device to anywhere from a small number of your friends (site-specific friends) up to the whole world (fed to Twitter/Facebook).

The idea is simple: go somewhere and “check-in.” The more you check-in, the more you’re rewarded for your efforts. Foursquare, the site I use most frequently, awards badges for accomplishing specific tasks. Check-in at the same place 3X in a week and earn the Local badge. Check in with 50 other people someplace and earn the Swarm badge.

Check-in more than anyone else and become the Mayor of that location. There’s a sense of pride in being the Mayor of a place, even if it doesn’t mean anything beyond bragging rights. Some businesses are jumping on board, though, offering specials to mayors or anyone who shows they’ve checked-in. When I go to “my” Starbucks, I can get $1 off a frappuccino. Pretty cool!

I love these location-based social networks for one big reason: they reward you for getting out, doing something, going somewhere, and trying something new. (And, they’re a pretty great friend finder when trying to meet up on a Friday night with ever-changing plans!)

There’s another element I’m sure you considered to this whole idea, though. Do you really want the whole world to know where to find you? And who really cares to know that you’re picking up your dry cleaning?

Well, you’re probably not going to find tweets from me broadcasting this fact, the majority of my check-ins stay on Foursquare only. But if I’m going to make a location specific tweet (“I’m checking out the Rockford City Market!” for example), I’ll link it to Foursquare (which kindly provides a map & contact info for the location) – and hope that other people want to check it out, too.

What do you think of these location-based networks? Fun? Oversharing? Are you on Foursquare already? Do you see yourself jumping on board or will you be waiting for the next trend that strikes your fancy a little more? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Cheers!
Anthea

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~ by Anthea on June 24, 2010.

3 Responses to “Location, Location, Location”

  1. I can’t decide – part of me thinks it’s really an awesome tool but another part of me finds that it’s too much. When I’m going out, I don’t want to feel like I have to grab my phone and take the time to check in even if that time is only 2 seconds. At some point, my life has to be my life – off the grid.

    At the same time…. I like discounts and sharing my favorite places with others. Yes, I technically have a Foursquare account…. but I really don’t use it… yet….

    -Caitlin

  2. I have kind of the same opinion as Caitlin. I used to be big into Twitter, especially when I had a smartphone, and frequently posted about where I was and what I was doing, but after a few months, it just became too much. I didn’t like that random people I didn’t even know could follow my tweets, and I suddenly felt vulnerable and exposed. So I ditched the smartphone (I also couldn’t afford the data plan ..) and unplugged myself a bit. I still have trouble balancing the kind of posts I do on social media because social media has become such a big part of people’s professional lives now, but I’m at least feeling a little less naked, so to speak.

  3. […] Earlier this summer, I wrote an entry (Location, Location, Location!) about the trend of “checking in” and sharing your location via social […]

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