I don’t think anyone really has social media sussed out yet, but you can probably tell that I’m enjoying being part of the experiment and taking a great interest. One thing I’ve never understood though is Geolocation services.
From the moment I first heard of Google Latitude I wondered why on Earth I’d want to tell the world where I was. Surely that was dangerous? People could a) find me (maybe that’s the point?) b) know when I’m not at home and that my place was safe to break into without disturbing me.
No, other than last-night’s bike ride, I’m usually telling people where I’ve been rather than where I’m going or where I am, and I’d recommend others with any kind of public social media footprint to do the same.
Latitude has been followed, seemingly very successfully, by services like foursquare and Gowalla, and today, in the USA at least, Facebook are joing the club with Facebook Places.
Facebook’s had some minor criticism for privacy issues, but I think they’ve actually got it right this time. It’s an opt-in service; you’re notified when people “tag” you as being in a location; you can delete location tags; and the default is to only show your location tags to your friends. They’re trying to do something possibly kinda useful, but, privacy wise, it’s a pretty safe starting point. Read more about how it works in the Guardian, and how to disable it on Lifehacker.
But I still don’t get it, and I’m frustrated that with all the technology we have I still can’t do one really simple geolocation thing that I’d like to do occasionally when trying to meet up with friends in unfamiliar places…I’d like to just be able to send my location from my mobile phone to a specific person so that they can find me. Can I do that with any of these services? And if not, who’s going to develop it for me?
What are your thoughts on Geolocation? Useful? Dangerous? Which services do you use and why?