How Foursquare and Location-Based Social Networks are Changing the Internet

In Social Networking, Web 2.0 by Inside The Webb4 Comments

A few years ago everybody was worrying about the internet carrying an “information overload”. Many people were afraid of the internet collecting information about everyone, turning it into a global database with all the information in the world held in it – in the wrong hands, this could be dangerous.

I am of the belief this is the wrong way to consider things, and with the amazing success of Foursquare as a location-based check-in service, sharing information with your friends has never been easier. Combined with Twitter, your friends can now follow what you’re doing and where you are at all times of the day!

At first glance this may seem a bit scary. The knowledge that many people are following your every move can be a bit daunting, but think of how much potential this allows for future growth. If we can share this sort of information in an instant to anywhere in the world, this is only the beginning for such amazing technological growth.

The problem people are seeing with Foursquare and like-minded services such as Gowalla are mostly privacy-based. However the beautiful part of these apps is that you don’t need to participate at all! And even if you do, you can hide your posts and check-ins so that nobody can see them (the point being so that you still gain points and credits for being there).

Information Overload: Is it really such a bad thing?

The internet boom is still very much alive and kicking today. Whereas back in the late 1990’s many people were claiming the internet was growing too large, and allowing this much information to be stored in one place was only going to wreck havoc on us in the future.

But look where we are now, more advanced as a society than we’ve ever been with no signs of slowing down. I think after the release of Facebook and Twitter which allows you to share your thoughts and connect with your friends from anywhere, Foursquare is the next logical step in this social networking wheel.

Sharing your check-ins and places you’ve visited in real time allows for simplistic meetups with friends which wouldn’t have been scheduled otherwise. Along with that, the developers at Foursquare are working on ways to recommend restaurants and other locations based on where you’ve been in the past and what you’re friends recommend.

This is a groundbreaking concept, as this allows for an innovative and fluid transfer of unique information, without needing to call up your friends and say “Hey I’m in New York for the week, what restaurants are best?”. Further time is needed to see out the full potential of where Foursquare is heading, but I’ve jumped on the bandwagon already and I’m excited to see where this train is heading!

Comments

  1. What I have found with Foursquare and Gowalla has been discovery. Of all the 100’s of people I pass in a day I have found people who I probably seen many times but never knew they were there. People who shop where I shop and eat where I eat. It’s an interesting ice breaker too.

    I also like the fact I can choose what information is shared when. There is a lot of potential and I believe it will be simular to email – if you never used it you find it pointless but once you use it you wonder how you lived without it.

  2. That’s great, Jake. It’s always good to jump on the bandwagon if you think it has great potential. The earlier the better and the early bird catches the worm. So if Foursquare becomes really big in terms of potential in the future, the early birds will reap really great results which includes you :).

    Even Pete Cashmore said it’s one of the things he has his eyes on this year. So we are all also watching too, lets see how far Foursquare goes and grows :).
    .-= Shirley Osei-Mensah´s last blog ..Pictures Of Shirley Osei-Mensah And Others At TEDxYouthInspire =-.

  3. I don’t know anyone who even knows what Foursquare is. And I’ve asked around. Maybe it’s not big in Canada yet? Anyway, I guess I better figure this out, though I don’t really “get” it yet. 🙂

  4. IMHO, the risks of providing your location far outweigh the benefits. While “discovering” someone in person that you know online sounds like fun that thrill will be short-lived if the person you bump into turns out to be less than stable – and that is more common than you think.

    Deciding you want to meet a specific person you know online is one thing – making it possible for anyone to locate you at any time is dangerous because people looking for their next meal ticket have more incentive to make that happen than someone who is busy with their own life.

    And that is NOT the only likely problem. See the section in my blog on privacy and data mining or watch any CSI, CSC or other show on TV to see how data can be used to “prove” you are guilty. There is a post that includes examples of misleading ideas along those lines among my posts.

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