Wednesday, July 21, 2010 Go Map Yourself

I’m not much of a user of the current location-based social applications, things like Foursquare or Gowalla. When I started thinking about why, the answers were mostly business-related. If I point out where I am, it might give something away (if I’m in Memphis, am I with FedEx? If I’m in St. Louis, am I visiting Build-A-Bear?). If I point out where I am, it means you might want to meet (which is sometimes great, and sometimes not entirely possible). I just haven’t found the business value of telling everyone where I am.

I don’t want to be the mayor of things in Foursquare. I want to be the mayor of things in real life. In my little town, when I walk into my restaurant of choice, they know me from my frequency. They give me excellent service. They let me order off the menu. That’s much more fun than being the “mayor.”

Now, the missing ingredient? If there were context. I’d gladly tell everyone in LinkedIn where I am. Why? Because there’s at least a glimmer of possibility that we’ll have a business reason to connect instead of a serendipitous social reason. (Don’t get me wrong: serendipity is awesome. I’m just not always keen on decloaking for social-only reasons.)

So for now, feel free to go map yourself. Me? I’ll just let people know when it seems appropriate.

What’s your take?

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