Social media is continually expanding and there’s always something new to learn. Recently, I sat down with Kim Nicholson, a fellow TMPer, to get her views on the latest in social media: location sharing. Kim is an avid social media junkie who’s active in foursquare, Twitter, YouTube, facebook, LinkedIn, Google Wave, etc. (she also contributes to TMP’s social media accounts). Oh, and did I mention she’s the Mayor of TMP Worldwide Atlanta? I should also point out that she’s 25, blonde and single.
Katie: So, what is location sharing?
Kim: Location sharing is just that – sharing your immediate location within your social network. I’ve played around with brightkite and Dodgeball (back before becoming extinct), and didn’t really do too much with them. It wasn’t until I started experimenting with foursquare that I got hooked! Much like with any fledgling social network, you have to dive in to see what the buzz is all about.
Katie: And how do you use location sharing?
Kim: Since there’s so many different social location sharing sites, let’s focus on just one for a bit – foursquare.
foursquare’s driving force is exploring your city. Remember when you were a kid and you would drop by your friend’s house to check in on them? This is sort of the same premise, just mobile-based. As you go about your day, you “check in” to locations. This can be anything from a restaurant, to your office, to a bar, to a mall. Your friends can then see where you are. If they’ve enabled text/email notifications, they’ll even be alerted if you are nearby with a friendly suggestion to ‘swing by and say hi’! foursquare has added a competitive nature to their location sharing. When you check in somewhere, you are awarded points based on the time of day, how often you check in there, etc. The person with the most check ins at a certain venue becomes mayor. You can unlock badges proving how stellar you are at exploring your city (think Xbox Live’s Achievements). Not only are you competing against your personal network, but against the entire city. Sunday night each week, the scores go back to zero. It’s an even playing field, even if you just logged in for the first time. Oh, and everything is city-based. Even though I have friends in cities other than Atlanta, I only see what they are doing when they are in town. If they check in to say, a bar in Chicago, I won’t be alerted. But when they show up on a business trip to the ATL, I’ll know they are around and we can meet up.
I know what you are thinking. This is the dumbest thing you’ve ever heard of. Trust me – play with foursquare, and you’ll LOVE it. I’m proud to be the mayor of eight venues in Atlanta (including TMP Worldwide)! Just try and “oust” me.
Katie: So, how do you think location sharing will affect advertising in the future?
Kim: On the consumer side, location sharing has really started to pick up. Cities that have a larger following have started to take notice, and offer specials to the mayor of a venue. One of the more common examples of this is The Marsh Café in San Francisco – the foursquare Mayor drinks for free! The question is really – how can this be translated to recruitment? TMP Labs is currently working on some exciting recruitment-based uses surrounding this technology. Keep an eye on our blog for news on this in the future!
Katie: If someone is interested in sharing their location, how should they get started?
Kim: There are a number of social networks you can check out and try based on their offerings. If all you want is to let folks know where you are, then try brightkite. If you want a bit more with your location sharing experience, I’d recommend playing with foursquare (my personal favorite). Or, you can try Loopt, Google Latitude or any of the other location sites out there. The best thing to do is to find the one you like, and start playing with it. Mashable also has a great article about why foursquare is poised to go places. Oh, and the more friends you can bring on board, the more fun you’ll have! I can show you the ropes. Join me on foursquare: (firstname.lastname@example.org) or follow me on twitter: @kimberley_ann.