Location-Based Social Networking: Friend Or Foe?
Geolocation, in relation to social media, is the ability to ‘tag’ a photo, update or status to give a specific location. Foursquare exists purely for this technology and is about people ‘checking-in’ to cafes, restaurants, bars etc.
There is, however, a difference between real-time location updates and post-tagging. Updating a Tweet or status in real-time means that everyone (if it is a public forum like Twitter) or your friends (if you use privacy settings properly) can see exactly where you are at that moment. Bring on the burglars and stalkers. However, tagging a photo with the location it was taken in is a nice way of pin-pointing it for reference and fairly harmless if it is after the event.
Either way though, location use has not made it into the mainstream. This is mostly due to that old friend of social media – privacy..
A survey undertaken by security company Webroot revealed that 55% of those surveyed (all had Geolocation ready mobile devices) were worried about the loss of privacy that comes with using applications that use location. The main reason for this worry is the fear of risk of crime with 45% worried about being burgled and 49% of the women fearing stalking.
Facebook, who are constantly chided for their privacy, have today made it easier to determine exactly who sees location information in status updates. This is an indication that the big players are not ready to give up on this technology but are determined to make it work by introducing ways to make it as private as possible. But doesn’t that defeat the object?
As far as organisations using social media for marketing are concerned any effort put in should still be for good content and engagement and think of ‘checking-in’ as a nice bonus that some of your fans/followers may use – but don’t make it central to your campaign.
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