Discovering Value in GeoSocial

Wordle: Explore Your WorldEvery new social platform must prove it’s value to users.

It took Twitter the better part of 2 years to conquer the “Why do I care what you had for breakfast” perception and now location based social networks (or GeoSocial) like Gowalla and Foursquare face similar refrains.

  • What’s the point?
  • It’s ridiculous
  • I just don’t get it

Often the early life cycle of social applications are dominated by critics who are quick to dismiss the technology so let’s step back from the business and marketing angles for a bit and answer one simple question.

What do location based social networks offer you?

I’ve often described my twitter community as carrying my friends around on my shoulder. This ever-present cloud is always up for conversation, ripe with new discoveries, and is ready for a brilliant quip or sarcastic aside. It’s a virtual traveling roadshow.

But what if my virtual community could impact my physical world?

Welcome to GeoSocial. Serendipity’s helping hand.

Discover People

This opportunity cannot be emphasized strongly enough. You get to meet people that is the core definition of social.

Last Friday night I was at the local ballpark when I received a twitter mention that an acquaintance had checked in to the same venue via Foursquare. I discovered he was with another friend and I decided to walk across to say Hi.

Although I’d never met either of them in real life we were familiar with one another because of our online interactions.

What happened? Familiarity turned into friendship.

It was amazing chance to deepen a connection and impossible without the aid of a location based social network.

A simple Foursquare check-in by @jdo2 brought all of us together. I was able to meet @lonapete and on the walk over I bumped into my friend @laureneclark, whom I met previously through #LRtweetup.

@Bryanjones defined the value of geosocial networking beautifully,

@k_wade_a real life @ real (interesting) places and real people. (cc: @katiemcmanners @tsudo)less than a minute ago via Twitter for iPhone

Discover Places

Imagine you are out-of-town visiting friends. They take you to a local dive and insist you try this super secret item that isn’t listed on the menu. Feeling adventurous you agree and you’re rewarded with a totally unexpected and amazing dish. If you aren’t a regular patron you don’t even know it exists. Heck, you probably wouldn’t have even stopped here.

But you are with an insider.

GeoSocial apps are insider trading in the real world.

Whether I’m discovering something in my backyard or across the country these tips are tied to the location. Tips left by friends and strangers that drastically improve the world around me.

Here are just two examples from the hundreds I could share.

  • I checked in at a Mexican restaurant that I’d previously never visited. My friend @bpmore had left a tip recommending the pollo asada. Suddenly my social network leaped out and said, try this. No surprise it was wonderful!
  • A beautiful day prompted me to wander a few blocks for lunch when I found local luchador @bryanjones at a nearby Mexican joint (yeah I love great Mexican food). I stopped in to say Hi and when I checked in I discovered his tip to ask for a secret habanera sauce.  Wow, it was HOT, but excellent, and unlisted.

IMG_0697 IMG_5040 IMG_5134

Through Gowalla & Foursquare we’ve shared everything from favorite snow cone flavors to where you can find the best desserts in town.

*It probably goes without saying if you are looking for amazing food and sweets I’m your guy, need a tip for a great gym? … ask @amybhole

So much more

In the interest of brevity I’m omitting many features like deals, specials, and prompting conversations that can enrich the world around you.

Forget the critics, go discovering.

10 responses to “Discovering Value in GeoSocial”

  1. arkstfan says:

    Traveling I am hesitant to eat at any place that doesn't have positive 4sq tips or a Yelp! review. Had a great lunch yesterday at a place I might not have considered trying but for the input of others.

  2. Keith says:

    I couldn't think of a better endorsement, thanks for sharing this Mark.

  3. laureneclark says:

    kudos on this post. and kudso (and thanks) for taking time at a busy exciting ballgame to explain it to me one on one 🙂

  4. Great post! People really need to be taught the concept of social media and the value in it, but rarely have an article at their disposal that explains it in simple terms. Cheers!

  5. Keith says:

    Thank you so much Kadi. I kept having people ask the same question so I
    decided to try and answer it. Hope it helps.

    Thanks!

  6. Great post! People really need to be taught the concept of social media and the value in it, but rarely have an article at their disposal that explains it in simple terms. Cheers!

  7. Keith says:

    Thank you so much Kadi. I kept having people ask the same question so I
    decided to try and answer it. Hope it helps.

    Thanks!

  8. […] What happened? Familiarity turned into friendship…(full article here) […]

  9. Keith says:

    Safety is definitely a concern, especially for women. I recommend that if
    used prudently you have nothing to worry about. Don’t add your home address
    and just be aware what you’re sharing. Some of my friends checkin when they
    are leaving a place but there are pros and cons to that strategy.

    If you have an account on Foursquare you can see the tips and ideas without
    checking in but to claim specials or connect with people sharing your
    location is required. I don’t buy into the hype. If I say I’m at church or
    Cancun on tw/fb then people already know I’m not at home. A simple search
    tells someone my home address so I just roll with it.

    I’m glad this helped open your eyes to it. If I can help in any way just let
    me know.

    PS: I’m tsudo on both Gowalla and 4sq

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