In All the Right Places (from MainStreetSocial.org)
September 10, 2010 at 5:07 pm #110517
In the location-based social networking game FourSquare, a player can claim the mayorship of a restaurant, park, or even bus stop by checking in with a mobile device. Using the same technology, an actual mayor could charismatically roam the streets of his own city while citizens diligently pay attention to his every move.
Boasting over three million users in under two years, FourSquare has given us a reason to understand why location-based social networking can possibly generate $3.3 billion by 2013. It’s no wonder than Facebook, the social networking giant, has entered the geosocial networking realm by adding Facebook Places to its repertoire on August 18th of this year. Twitter, too, has an option that allows others to see a user’s location.
There is certainly an allure to letting others know where the hotspot is on a Friday night. This may evolve in the future. If used correctly, geosocial networking may be an important tool in getting more people interested in political campaigning. Just as politicians have used Facebook to garner fans and Twitter to advertise quick news, a location-based system may allow the number of political groupies to rise dramatically.
Is that a good thing? Depends. In smaller communities, a political candidate may just be another one of the few hundred people every resident has gotten to know very distinctly – first name, last name, blood type, etc. On the other hand, in large cities, political candidates (or at least the more appealing ones) may have a sort of mystique to them. Followers may not only be interested in hearing speeches, but also mirroring check-ins. If I knew Michael Jordan ate at a particular restaurant, I would be there tonight. And while it may get annoying having a traveling band of groupies in your corner pizzeria, it must be good for publicity. What makes location-based social networking great is that it allows you to rediscover your community. I may have an incentive to check out that deli that I always pass by if I read on FourSquare that someone recommended the ham and cheese sandwiches.
As with any kind of social networking, the point of a location-based system is to connect. With cities growing every day, connection would be the ideal goal, and who better to do it than a political figure – it’s in the job description.
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