Geosocial Networking: Are You Checked In or Checked Out?

The thought of having someone put a GPS chip inside a human being is one that most of us would disagree with. Yet we carry around our phones like they are an extension to our bodies and just about every phone these days has a GPS chip in it. But it is not all doom and gloom. Having the ability to access and create information that is location based is the single biggest change that I see going on in Social Networking at this time. Perhaps it is better defined as Geosocial Networking.

Geosocial Networking is social networking with location awareness capabilities. Location awareness allows us to bring people together, better tailor information and connect people to their interests. We have seen the ability to check in to places that we visit grow in popularity but that is just scratching the surface of Geosocial Networking. We have also seen advertising become much more location aware as more and more people share their location through services such as Four Square and Facebook.

So how is Geosocial Networking going to affect government? There is no easy answer but it is a current trend that we need to watch closely. We need to be on the Geosocial Networks participating and engaging people that check in to our locations. For example, if someone checks in to a government facility you can have a standard message that goes to them saying something like “Thank you for stopping by! Where you satisfied with the service that you received? We are here to serve you!”. You can also use the location data to get a pulse of what is going on in certain areas. You should also encourage people to check in to your facilities and engage them if they do. Geosocial Networking is another opportunity to build and grow the relationships that government has with its constituents.

If you want to see if someone has checked in at your location on Facebook you can search once you’re logged in and select places on the left side. On Facebook people can check in to a city, state or a single location.

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Corey McCarren

Luckily we can turn the GPS on our phones off! I don’t picture “Geosocial networks” doing too much for government, but a 4Square badge could be cool. I do think it could help with city events though, and its always cool to have mayorship competitions.

Tim Howell

With the current systems there is not a whole lot of “business use” overall. It is mostly just another way to connect with constituents.

I have used geo tags in the past to gather pictures and used them on our website, brochures and flyers. It is much cheaper than paying a professional photographer. It could also be cool during elections to spread the word about voting. I am sure there are a few good examples out there although they may not exactly meet the “Geosocial Networking” definition.

Chris Cairns

Great post. Sometimes it’s hard to think about the applications (and thus benefits) of such technology changes because of their ethereal nature, but your “implanted chip” analogy painted the picture quite nicely. Beyond customer service, I can imagine the applications in the homeland security and law enforcement mission areas. Of course, that raises a number of privacy issues.