“OMG. I was sooooooo wasted last night and am hanging like a bitch!!!”
A standard Facebook status.
Facebook has revolutionised the world. Where 6 years ago the closest thing we got to a friends list and online connections was the average-at-best MSN Messenger, we’re now ‘friending’ hundreds of people and following videos, updates, photos and links they have shared online.
But was there ever any point in connecting with people online?
Yes, we’re now able to keep in touch with others we’d hardly ever see. Yes, it’s easy to get in touch with someone on Facebook chat (students spend their lives on it), but is there any one reason to go on a social network?
Location based social networks are hot topics. Foursquare, the main network, has recently hit 3 million users. Facebook has recently rolled out it’s own platform Facebook Places. Both enable users to share where they’ve been in status updates to their friends.
What’s kicked this all off is the smartphone revolution – it’s easy to forget that the first iPhone was launched just over 3 years ago.
The principle of these location networks is simple – you ‘check-in’ at various places you’ve been, letting your friends know where and when. For example, I checked in to the Stag’s Head last week, and in doing so I let my 11 Foursquare friends know I’d been there. If a friend had been stalking me, this would be like a dream come true.
There are other great features surrounding these networks, such as the ability to leave comments about places, and rewards systems where businesses can reward regular customers.
The core feature though, is ‘checking in’ and letting your friends know where you are.
A question I’ve often heard raised is “why would you want to let your friends know where you are?” Back to square one.
There is no singular reason for why you’d want to let your friends know you were wasted and now incredibly hungover. It seems two categories of Facebook users have evolved – ‘status’ people, and those who never leave status updates. Similarly there will be those who use the location services of social networks, and those who do not.
The point of connecting with other people online is all about sharing information. We can share who we are, what we’re up to, and when we did it. The only difference about these location services is that now we can share where we’ve been as well.
Facebook’s rapid growth has shown we are interested in what our friends are up to. The growth of Foursquare has shown we are also interested in where. Facebook would have been stupid not to notice this and launch their own location feature.
I’m forever seeing friends updating their status from their phone when drunk. While these new location services may be great – it’s probably best not to go and update to the world that you’re incredibly drunk and vulnerable while giving your exact location.[liveblog]