Monday, June 28, 2010

Travelogues, Places and Meetups

Today on ReadWriteWeb, Marshall Kirkpatrick (Co-Editor and Vice President of Content Development) has posted an article titled Why We Check In: The Reasons People Use Location Based Social Networks. In the article he explores why people use services like Foursquare and Gowalla to post their physical location for the world to see. Given that Facebook is planning to add location features and Twitter is pushing its own Twitter Places feature, this is a question many people ask — including those who use the services. As a regular user, I am often asked why and this time I had an opportunity to provide an answer for this article.

Marshall put the question out on the Twitters (yes, I am being ironical), and thanks to a retweet, it came my way. I responded with a couple tweets (below) about using Brightkite as my own travelogue. I thought what I was talking about was relatively unique. Apparently so did Marshall, because he comments on how many people made similar statements, about how they also used these services as some form of personal history.

Started with BK so I could post photos in real-time while traveling and associating each with locations on maps.
Use the RSS feature to draw it on a map in real-time. Still do it for my travels.

My ego aside, which I suspect we all know is no small task, the article also discusses how the game nature of some services motivates people, while the human connection (almost forced serendipity) is a motivator for others. While the article isn't exactly scientific (at all), his polling certainly demonstrates some trends. Though there are no big surprises, the anecdotal examples are interesting.

Meanwhile, over at Mashable there is an article discussing Twitter Places, What Twitter Places Means for the Future of Location. You may recall me wondering how Twitter Places in its current form can really take over the world of location-social media in my post Twitter Pushes into Places. Mashable offers some reasons to ponder:

  1. Location-Sharing to Become Mainstream
  2. Boost Interest in Geo-location Apps
  3. Promoted Places

In these examples, it's not that Twitter is going to take the lead, but instead that Twitter is simply going to use its "star power" to popularize and legitimize things we are already doing, or that other services are already doing.

While I've got you thinking about all these interesting bits related to location-based social media (we really need a simpler, universal name for that), take a look at this article from ReadWriteWeb: Is Geofencing the Next Evolution for Location Apps? Location Labs Thinks So. It essentially describes the thing I've always wanted Brightkite to do — notify me when I or a friend have entered some geographic area or zone and let us know each other is there. Certainly there is more to the service than this, but even if all you want is auto-checkins, then you may want to read this article.

If you've made it this far, then you may actually be interested in this stuff. If so, and you are interested in meeting people in your area who play and/or work in this space, Mashable is sponsoring a worldwide social media meetup on Wednesday, June 30. Many cities are getting in on the action. In fact, you could come to Buffalo and participate in our Mashable Meetup. If you don't, you'll be just like the other 6 billion people on the planet, and that's ok.

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