Do The Geo-Loco

4 05 2011

I am a slave to the social graph. Sure, I get paid to do this, since my classes carry such heavy emphasis on it. I am usually one of the first to jump off the diving board into the pool of new things, and once I am have found the waters to be inviting, I scream for everyone else to join me.

But sometimes few if any listen. Like now, with statistics showing that only 17% of the mobile population uses location-based services like Gowalla, FourSquare, Facebook Places, et al. And yet we post anything and everything else on our FB and TW feeds.

But maybe, just maybe, LBSs (or as they are also called, geo-loco) have jumped the social shark and sent people packing.

And perhaps with good reason. Many people cite privacy as a huge deterrent to using geo-locos. After all, you are broadcasting to your FB friends (as well as the entire Twitterverse) that you are, in fact, not at home. Yes. I’ll say that again. Not. At. Home. Furthermore, you have announced to any would-be stalkers your rather precise location. You cannot fool geo-locos, because they are GPS-based. You can’t “check in” to Red Robin when you’re sitting in an office 18 miles away.

Others simply quip that virtual badges and honorary mayoral bragging rights are not worth the effort. They may be right, but I don’t play along for those anyway.

You see, I use geo-locos (mine is Gowalla…could you tell?) to serve as a travelogue of sorts (my passport reads like a phone directory) as well as to provide content for my social media presence. I share only what I want to share, and push only what I want to push across to FB and TW. Basically, where I go and what I do is as much a part of the story of my life as anything else I might tweet about. What you read is what you get.

But wait. There’s more.

I also am firmly convinced that geo-locos will be the next wave in marketing and promotions, because we (read: consumers and marketers) can use to them to receive/send deals. I have no problem with marketers speaking to me via my phone. Maybe it’s because I am a marketing prof specializing in social media. But then again, maybe it’s because I like a good deal. I believe Pavlov has already addressed this issue anyway.

Yes, it truly is up to each and every one of us if we choose (opt-in is the official jargon) to geo-locos. I enjoy posting these things as much as I enjoy reading the geo-loco posts of others. Why? Because they allow me to see behind the curtain of You…my friends. For me, getting to know my peeps at many levels has been the best part of social media. So when you see me check in frequently at Red Robin, you know that I love that place. When you see me earn a badge at Untappd, you know I am indulging myself in the pursuit of unique craft brews. When I post a picture of my entree to Foodspotting, you know I am having a epicurean experience worth sharing. And if I post a snapshot to Instagram, it is because I was inspired to be creative with the filters and wanted to bring you into the picture.

Sure, you may not feel like swimming in uncharted waters, but I assure you the water is comfy, and you can swim any stroke you wish. Or just float.

I’ll look for you in the deep end.

Dr “Gone Loco” Gerlich

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One response

4 05 2011
Zack

I love this post because LBSs are something that have been on my mind lately. As someone going into advertising I love the data they provide, but as a social media consumer (though, some would say fanatic) I fail to see their usefulness. Sure I can get a deal or two, but I (and possibly others too) have never been interesting cutting coupons and deals seem remarkably similar.

When it comes to social media each platform serves a purpose: Facebook (this my life), Twitter (these are my thoughts), GetGlue (this is what I’m interested in), and so on. LBSs just say ‘here I am.’ I’m not worried about privacy whatsoever and I’m not really interested in becoming mayor (Foursquare) or a duke (Yelp, yes you can check in on anything now).

I think what it all comes down to for ME is that I feel my location doesn’t mean much when I’m trying to tell my social story. But then again, it not about me, it’s about the data these LBSs provide. Keep checking in!

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