Why it makes sense to ‘Like’ and ‘Check-in’

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/pressureUA

For a long time I thought, as I believe many people still do, that ‘Liking’ posts or webpages (eg, Facebook‘s ‘Like’ button), and ‘checking-in’ at locations (eg Foursquare) were just for fun, an unnecessary novelty.

With the development of social discovery, and smarter algorithms used for advertising, it’s becoming apparent to me that there is in fact quite some value in ‘liking’ and ‘checking-in’.

Of course, many people will immediately shudder, raising privacy concerns, and concerns that it is time-consuming or frivolous (see also my post “Thoughts on privacy versus disclosure in today’s society“). These can be fair objections, but let’s investigate things a little further.

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Social discovery

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/sjlocke

In a recent Economist, in the article on Facebook’s planned IPO, a quote caught my attention:

Some form of social-discovery feature in Facebook is inevitable [Joe Green, the boss of Causes.com, a web business that promotes activism and philanthropy]

This lead me to consider how we engage with new people, and how we are using the internet to engage in social discovery (meeting new people, and engaging in social dialogue, and possibly ‘learning’ from them).

Since starting this post, I’ve also become aware of an upcoming genre of apps which are designed to aid location-based social discovery (more on this below).

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‘Location’ is where it’s at – my take on location-based services.

In the retail trade they’ve long said that it’s about location, location, location. The advent of GPS, and the incorporation of GPS into affordable, handheld units (starting with car navigation units, and more recently smartphones) has meant that location tracking is now possible for individuals.

It has recently also become possible to share, or publicly broadcasting this data, via Twitter, Facebook, or other internet based platforms, with friends, or indeed, the whole world. It is of course a fair question to ask why one would want to do this.

I’ve recently started to try out Foursquare, one of the most popular location-based services, in an attempt to better understand what it’s all about. In doing so, I’ve also come up with a few thoughts about the potential for such services, beyond what seems to be being done so far.

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