One of the more interesting parts of the social media landscape is the location-based social media services like Foursquare and Facebook Places. Location-based social media uses the GPS device in a smartphone to recognize where you are and allow you to alert your network of contacts (as well as businesses) know where you are at a given moment. Of course, there are some clear concerns about privacy with these tools and I do recommend that you use them with caution. With that said, you can have fun with them and get some great conversations started with friends about specific places. For example, I recently “checked in” at Roly Poly of Cary (one of my favorite sandwich shops near my office) using Facebook Places and it kicked off a discussion among a few contacts about how great their food is. One person even mentioned that she used to eat at one in college and wasn’t aware that RP was in this area. I was glad to share the locations with her and I hope that she enjoys it as much as I do!
Today, I came across a neat visualization tool called Weeplaces that shows on a map all of the places where you’ve checked in, in sequence and runs it as a small “movie.” Here’s a look at the sequence for my Foursquare and Facebook Places accounts:
Pretty interesting and Weeplaces has plans to add integration for Twitter and Flickr in the future. From a personal level, this tool doesn’t really provide you with much beyond a “wow, isn’t this fun” factor. However, if a business could do this for everyone that checks in at their location, it would be a great way to see where your audience is coming from, and that would be really neat!