Some People Like Going Places…Without Checking In.

Last time we posted an article about Facebook and Google’s competing ”Places” applications, and mentioned similar applications begun by their forerunners (Twitter and Yelp, for example). As “location” tools explode across the internet, other applications such as Foursquare are enjoying continued and growing interest, as well. We noted that these location applications opened up new possibilities for businesses to advertise themselves and attract more customers and positive reviews. This week, we offer a view from the other side: people who don’t wish to be ”located,” preferring a certain amount of anonymity in their day-to-day physical locations.
In a recently-published New York Times article, the author observed that most of the people using Places applications are young “technically adept urbanites,” and that just 4% of Americans have even tried such services. This is probably due to the fact that people born after 1981 grew up in a generation accustomed to sharing information about themselves online.
The biggest concern for Places abstainers so far seems to be privacy. This may seem ironic, considering all of the personal pictures and information many people are comfortable posting to various social networking sites. Yet somehow, making their current physical location public seems to cross the line for many. For others, knowing where their friends are and what they are doing ‘every minute’ seems like overkill, and they don’t want to know.
There are a number of positive incentives for using location applications: some businesses offer coupons and special promotions, and public spaces such as history and science museums are catching on to the idea, sending users historical or scientific information about the place they are visiting. Some people appreciate the settings that allow them to choose exactly who can see their locations, and like to see where their friends are; they use Places as just another networking tool to help them meet up (online or in person) with others.
At the end of the day, it seems that location technology is growing in popularity, but is not yet entirely main-stream: maybe Facebook’s new Places application will change that.
-Meghan Ingram
MARKIT Group staff
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About MARKIT Group

MARKIT Group is a full-service traditional and digital marketing and public relations firm with an emphasis on social media, reputation management and monitoring, as well as brand management. Headquartered in Bonita Springs, Fla., with offices in New York, Pittsburgh and Charleston, S.C.
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One Response to Some People Like Going Places…Without Checking In.

  1. Ryan Kok says:

    The one thing I’ve always wondered about with these “place” apps, is why in the world did they decide on using the phrase “check in”? Unless the only place you’re going is a hotel, the phrase just doesn’t make sense to me. It’s not like you had a reservation when you decided to “check in” at the local park. How about “so and so has arrived at…” or simply “so and so is at…”. Those make much more sense to me. Maybe I’m being the old man in the rocking chair, but I just find “check in” to be annoying.

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