Location-based services are a wildly popular mobile business trend right now. I remember when geo-location status updates were a problem for folks on Twitter. Now everyone’s getting swept in the geo-location wave (or war). That’s a good thing for many reasons I’ve voiced here on SheGeeks for the past two years. However, in order for thriving communities to be built, players and partners will have to step things up in two areas: community intersections via location awareness and relationships.
Of all the places that I’ve checked into on Foursquare and Brightkite, I don’t remember many of them. I don’t even know the history behind them. LBS’ can raise more awareness of the places people are checking into when answering the following:
- Was there a building that existed before this place? (old school community)
- What type of tags would people use to describe this place? (digital natives)
- What events go on here? (the arts)
- Seriously, what is this place? (tourist)
Within this awareness of these answers are massive opportunities for many communities to connect for many reasons almost effortlessly! I checked into to my friend Damien birthday. Sarah Cooley, Community Manager for Postling, let me know that the venue was very eco-friendly. The strange look on my face at the interior design of the club might’ve prompted her to tell me this, but I wanted to see it in Foursquare via a tag or fact tab. The opportunity for a connection is always present and people want it to surface.
In 2008, I suggested a few things location-based services need to offer people. I was using a mixture of incredible social media services for finding local events. However, with every use, I saw people being pulled nto spaces without a genuine awareness of that place nor the people around them. Especially the people! Usernames and twitter handles are not people.
LBS’ have the power to connect people in a unique way: stories. I’ve been using LBS to tell a story around the places I travel to for speaking engagements and events. I enjoy visiting the venues in cities that attract a wide variety of people. I often sit in venues and wonder:
- What interests do I share with the business woman in the booth next to mine?
- Is she celebrating something today (why? what?)?
- Has she been to some of my favorite spots in the city too?
Maybe this is a job for Facebook, but I think LBS’ are ready and able to make good use of this information if users so choose to make it publicly available.
Location plays a very important role in communities. The grass is sometimes greener on the other side (literally)! We need access to relevant location information no matter what city we’re in, what device we’re using, and who we are. This information adds to the story unfolding before our eyes. 10% off some meal at the place around the corner doesn’t necessarily excite me to check-in. I see many discounts a day, and I’ve spent most of my money on them by the time I reach this special. Give us a reason to check-in by connecting this business with us.
LBS’ allow businesses to enhance customer experiences and add access to new resources like never before. Tools like Foursquare and Gowalla, are partnering with fashion retailers, and now the WSJ to make LBS something it wasn’t before: interesting to communities. Now let’s make these interactions within the community better, shall we?