Personally, I love the concept of grabbing my smartphone, meeting friends spontaneously in Starbucks and getting a badge for my social efforts (yes, I did love getting stickers as a child…), but with the recent press focus on the ‘dangers’ of identity theft from SMN sites, geolocation networking asks a lot of a hesitant user.
Even though most of your personal details are protected, it seems that disclosing your location may just be a stage too far. Users simply do not want to be “stalked.”
But people who write off geolocation networking at this early stage are forgetting that the social media world is a dynamic one; a few years ago, posting personal videos on Youtube or SMS length messages on Twitter would have seemed equally bizarre and over-familiar. So it may take a while for geolocation to really catch on – and only once users stop frantically scrabbling for their security settings.
However, although there is great potential for marketeers to use Foursquare for really targeted campaigns, I doubt that geolocation networking will ever truly rock the social sphere. Foursquare in its current form is plain boring, a blip on a map will never replace the charm of a well placed Twitpic, and delving for your phone for manual check-ins seem somewhat socially awkward on a night out…
Geolocation attempts to strike the impossible balance between privacy and stalking. And to be honest the technology has a long way to go. So unless it is somehow able to solve these core problems I doubt Facebook Places will ever be as successful and as widely used as it could be.