RSS Feeds

Friday, May 14, 2010

Why Use Location-Based Social Media?

One of my personal goals for 2010 has been to increase my knowledge and use of social media.  The year is not quite half over, and social media has become a useful and enjoyable part of my life.  I've been able to keep in touch with friends, make new business contacts, and share my ideas with the world.  I've also been able to read some thoughtful, often provocative material, and it's all been at my fingertips to read when the mood strikes.  In all I've thoroughly enjoyed most of the social media experiencs I've had.

There is, however, a newer trend in social media that I don't quite understand: location updating.  Applications such as Foursquare are a way for people to let their friends know where they are at, and by looking at updates they can see where their friends are (or were recently).  You can also post reviews for a particular place you've visited, and you can potentially get rewards from establishments for mentioning that you were there.

Is there a real value to this?  I'm sure some people find it fun to use, but for the most part it seems like a hassle.  Also, some of the more powerful social media users may not want their thousands of followers to know where they are at all times.  So what benefit does this technology provide that might interest mainstream users?

This article on Mashable examines some of the issues with social location tools going mainstream, but believes there are upsides:
One of the ultimate promises of location-based checkins is more accurately targeted advertising. For some users, the privacy concerns of sharing their location might be trumped by the potential utility of receiving highly targeted advertising and promotions.
I'm not so sure targeted advertising will appeal to a mainstream audience, at least not in the next couple of years.  The article also mentions that Facebook and Twitter have thrown their hats in the social location ring, so perhaps they can figure out how to add value to the average user.

What about you, do you use location tools such as Foursquare?  If so what do you enjoy about it?
blog comments powered by Disqus