Articles about "Location-based social media"

Midterm voters to get special badge from Foursquare

In a new civic participation project for the 2010 midterm elections, Foursquare will provide an ‘I Voted” badge for those who check in at their local polling place.

Working with groups such as MTV’s Rock the Vote, the Pew Research Center, Google and the Voting Information Project, Foursquare has gathered location information for 107,000 polling places. Adam Ostrow reports that users who check in and use the “#ivoted” hashtag will receive the badge. A special elections site created by Foursquare will track the activity on an interactive, real-time map.
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Google exec: location-based mobile coupons are “Holy Grail”

Mobile Marketer
A Google executive said Thursday that the search giant is “making progress” toward its goal of tapping into the local mobile advertising revenue stream.

Dan Butcher reports that Mike Steib, director of emerging platforms at Google, said that increasing the number of local businesses advertising on its platforms is a priority for the company:

” ‘The Holy Grail for local advertising is location-targeted coupons, and we’re building Google Offers to enable that, as well as click-to-call functionality for nearby businesses,’ Mr. Steib said. ‘If you have the ability to reach out to consumers nearby and pull them in using mobile, it’s great for consumers and advertisers.’ “

According to Butcher, Google sees local coupons as a $1 billion business by next year. Read more


Hernandez: Foursquare can be used to find sources

Neon Tommy
Speaking with Laura J. Nelson about social media and journalism, Robert Hernandez predicts geolocation is only going to grow, and he continues to look for ways to use the current tools for newsgathering:

“I’m using the Discovery Channel hostage situation as the example. The day it happened, I looked to see who had checked in [on FourSquare] and I saw a guy based in LA had checked into the building a few hours before the incident. 

That allows me to find potential sources who are actually there. And because this person is announcing to the world that they’re there, that increases the likelihood that they’re willing to talk. Instead of going to a place, or cold calling, or going up to people and interrupting them or going on a fishing expedition, you can find very specific eyewitness sources.”

Hernandez is a founder of the Twitter #wjchat group and a former Seattle Times staffer. He currently teaches at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.
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Location-based games worth a try for media

Foursquare and SCVNGR today both launched new tools that encourage on-the-ground activities that go beyond simply checking in as “present” at a specific geographic location. This could be good news for local media.

Foursquare has announced a partnership with fitness site to reward users with a variety of badges for completing various running events, including training runs, a 5K and a marathon. In a blog post, the company stated that it intends to roll out badges for more “real-world experiences” with selected partners soon.

And, SCVNGR has launched a new app on Facebook that will let businesses feature location-based challenges and rewards on their own Facebook Places page. SCVNGR has recently worked with partners such as The Boston Globe to offer mobile scavenger hunts with rewards such as Red Sox tickets and movie passes for readers who complete challenges around the city.

As location games mature and focus on action instead of simple geography, new opportunities are created for media companies that want to become more involved in the location-based-services trend.

Media organizations that promote or produce annual community events should look toward becoming the hub for location-game activities centered on those events. Interest in location games and rewards is still limited to an adventurous few, but Facebook Places is increasing public awareness. And the costs of involvement remain low. Read more


Foursquare launches location-based ‘to-do’ feature

Foursquare released an update to its iPhone app Monday and, writes Marshall Kirkpatrick, also rolled out an interesting “add to my Foursquare” button that can be placed on any website:

“If you own a business or publish a web page about any real-world location, this very simple button will allow visitors to your website to add going to your location as a ‘to-do’ item and receive a push-notification to their phones whenever they check-in anywhere nearby. This small button could deliver a substantial part of the promise of Foursquare — tying together our discoveries online with our experiences offline.”
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Bilton: Digital, mobile technology is all about ‘me’

New York Times
New York Times blogger Nick Bilton says in his new book that digital technology makes the world all about “me.” That, he reports, is having a dramatic effect on how people consume the news and other media.

For example, go to your smart phone and ask to it show your current location. In his book, “I Live in the Future & Here’s How It Works,” Bilton writes that if you walk down the street, the map follows you. That effect of keeping the user in the center is a reversal of the analog way of life:

“In the print world people don’t go to the store and say, ‘Oh, excuse me, can I buy a map of me?’ Instead, they ask for a map of New York, or Amsterdam, or the subway system. You and I aren’t anywhere to be seen on these maps. The maps are locations that we fit into.”

Bilton said he believes this omnipresent focus on the “me” has significant ramifications for publishers:

“The Internet generation is looking for personalized experiences, from the clothes that they buy, to when, where and how they watch the latest episode of ‘Glee.’ For content creators this poses a problem: if they don’t offer the option to consume a product in a personalized way, many consumers will simply go and get it themselves — something that some would call stealing.” Read more

‘Intersect’ Provides New Way to Share Life Stories Based on Time & Place

Often, the stories we tell — as journalists and as citizens — are part of an ongoing narrative. It’s easy, though, for parts of that narrative to get lost along the way. Our memories get hazy. We lose touch with the people we met on a trip, in school or at work. Even if we post photos and status updates to Facebook, they can be pushed quickly into the recesses of our profiles.

Now, there’s a community journalism site aimed at helping people remember and reconnect to their past and the people who were a part of it. Intersect, which was unveiled today, enables users to organize their stories into storylines that they can tag with a time and place to create an “intersection.” Users can then scroll through other users’ storylines and see if their stories intersect.

Peter Rinearson, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and former vice president of Microsoft, created the Seattle-based startup site and brought on about 20 people to be part of his team. Among them is Monica Guzman, who left her job as a reporter for in May to become Intersect’s director of editorial outreach.

I interviewed Guzman on Tuesday evening via e-mail to find out more about the site and how journalists can use it. In the edited Q&A below, she talks about how the public and the media can use Intersect to tell better stories, and she explains how the site is different from personal blogs, Facebook and Twitter.

Mallary Tenore:
Give me a little background on what Intersect is and how it helps people tell stories.

Monica Guzman: Intersect brings together two elements — storylines and intersections of place and time — in ways we hope will make storytelling more collaborative and engaging. So if people post public stories about a soccer game, a parade, a concert, or a protest, those stories will appear on the storytellers’ time lines — what we call their life storylines — and also at the time and place they occurred, where we make it easy for anyone to find them. Some intersections could have just a few stories. But intersections that happen around major events, past and present, might have a lot. 

There are already lots of ways for people to share snippets of their lives through Facebook, Twitter and their personal blogs. Why should they give Intersect a try?

Guzman: We know people have lots of ways they can share online — I use a lot of them — and we think it’s pretty great that people are connecting in live conversations about what matters to them right now. But each of us has a whole life full of intersections and stories that build on each other and get richer over time.

On Intersect, the time that matters isn’t the time something’s posted, but the time it happened. And the chronology that matters isn’t the chronology of a blog or a Twitter feed, but of everybody’s interconnected lives. You don’t have to be friends with someone to discover a connection or find the stories they’ve shared publicly. You can upload different profile photos for different phases of your life and see how you’ve changed just by scrolling through your storyline.

In real life, our memories don’t scroll off a page and disappear, and our past can connect us as much as our present. When you pin your story to a place as well as a time, you make it easier for people to find out where their path has crossed with yours — whether it was at a meetup yesterday in Seattle or at summer camp in Maryland in 1985. You can also post stories about the places you intend to be in the future — like concerts or conferences — so the people you might meet there can learn more about you.

Who is the audience for Intersect?

Guzman: Early on, we think Intersect will appeal to people who think of themselves as storytellers, though we’re hoping people can make it their own and surprise us. We also think it’ll be fun for readers to discover stories around the places and times they’re curious about — whether it’s where they grew up, where they went to school, where they fell in love or where they traveled last year.

It’s always neat to find connections and intersections you didn’t expect. So we think historians could get a kick out of Intersect, as could families, professional and citizen journalists, and really anyone who likes to connect. I guess we’ll see!

How do you envision news organizations and individual journalists using the site, now and in the future? I’m wondering, for instance, if they could use it to save string on stories, to connect with sources or to display all of their relevant content on a given story in one place.

Guzman: I have some ideas, but I know we’ll learn a lot from how both professional and citizen journalists actually use Intersect. Some journalists I’ve talked to want to use Intersect’s ability to “borrow” other people’s stories into their storylines to curate coverage of the candidacy of a local politician or the life of a controversial highway.

Others want to see how people use it to post their take on a news event. We want to work with journalists to develop Intersect as a great tool for the craft, and part of my job is to learn how journalists want to use it and bring that back to the development team so we can work to make it happen.

How do you think news consumers can benefit from seeing stories presented in this way?

Guzman: When people tell stories on storylines and intersections that reflect real lives, times and places, then they can discover connections and layers of context they didn’t know were there — and keep uncovering them even after the story falls from the headlines. News readers can have a hand in that and collaborate with storytellers in the process. And when stories are laid out in storylines, and those storylines get to the larger narratives that form the background on the day’s news, news readers can make better sense of what’s happening. There could be a lot of benefits.

What is the value of helping people connect or “intersect” with others?

Guzman: A lot of experiences become richer when we share them. And when people connect on Intersect, they can share stories over their whole storyline, connect to people they discover at intersections of time and place, and remember together.

It’s fun to connect with someone you just met, so what if you could connect with someone who shared a great experience with you years ago, someone you can learn from even if you never met each other and neither of you knew the other was there? That could be pretty fun.

How will you measure the success of this project?

Guzman: We hope Intersect becomes a gathering place that encourages community, and that it becomes known as a place where interesting and engaging stories get told — including some that otherwise wouldn’t have been captured and shared. Over the longer term, of course, we’ll want the site to be profitable and therefore sustainable. For now, we’re pretty excited to see people discover how their stories — and their lives — intersect.

Editor’s note: Guzman and Rinearson visited Poynter this past summer to give the institute’s faculty and staff a preview of Intersect and to solicit their feedback. Rinearson is a former member of Poynter’s National Advisory Board and Guzman is a former college summer fellow.
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One-third of mobile searches have local intent

Mobile Marketer
Quoting recent Google research, Giselle Tsirulnik reports that one in three searches performed on mobile devices has a “local intent,” meaning the consumer is searching for information or content related to his or her geographic location.

Tsirulnik writes that user behavior on mobile devices continues to diverge from desktop Web use:

” ‘We’re seeing a clear pattern emerging of a different kind of search behavior on mobile,’ [said Charlotte Rogers, client services director of Efficient Frontier.] ‘When on the move, consumers don’t want to browse, they want to find.’

” ‘Searches are more specific, more action-based and more localized.’ “

This local focus for on-the-go users has significant implications for media companies working on mobile strategies. It is important that mobile websites and apps focus not just on narrative news content, but on local information, including business directories and geo-tagged data such as real estate or classified listings. Read more


Facebook Places spurs coverage outside of niche, tech sites

A month ago you would have expected to see location-based services discussed on sites such as Mashable, ReadWriteWeb, TechCrunch and Gizmodo. Foursquare, Gowalla, Yelp and others have been the tech press’ stock-in-trade for months, assuming they were not busy headlining the latest Apple gadget.

But what about The Augusta Chronicle, the Camera in Boulder, Colo., The Indianapolis Star and the Corpus Christi Caller-Times?

Call it the Facebook Places effect; those are just a few of the mainstream publications that have written about location sharing in the past few days. While reports indicate that few people have heard of location services and only 1 percent use them regularly, Facebook’s launch of Places last week could change that statistic.

With 500 million global users, people talk about what Facebook does — and the talk is on.

The Indianapolis Star’s Erika Smith recommends thinking about the privacy implications before you start broadcasting your location on Facebook:

“Think about who is on your list of Facebook friends and then think even harder about whether you really want all of them to know where you are. For example, if your boss is your friend, do you really want him to know how often you go to bars? And for that matter, do you want him to know where you hang out at all?”

Mary Ann Cavazos of the Corpus Christi Caller-Times hits on one troubling aspect of location sharing that was popularized by the site Please Rob Me:

“Corpus Christi Police Lt. James Garrett said sharing personal information online with no privacy settings is asking for trouble.

” ‘People can track you and know you’re not home,’ he said. ‘Obviously you don’t want (everyone) knowing where you are all the time. You never know who’s getting that information.’

“Garrett, supervisor for the property crimes section, said he’s never had a case where a person’s social media habits have been blamed for a burglary but said he suspects there may have been times when victims missed the connection.”

Dave Taylor could have called his piece for the Camera “Don’t Panic!”:

“As usual, though, Facebook fumbled the introduction and left the default privacy settings to be more public than most people want. If you are with a friend at, say, Atlas Purveyors having tea, they can ‘check you in’ to the venue on Facebook if you’re both friends and they’re busy checking in themselves. That’s a default setting. Not good.

Sarah Day Owen focuses on how people can use incumbents Foursquare and Yelp for her Augusta Chronicle story:

“Usually when people ask me what the point of Foursquare is in itself (rather than in context), I often describe it as an interactive Yelp in which you can see tips from friends and others left at nearby places. …

Though [Yelp isn't] inclusive of everything in Augusta — 114 restaurants, 16 shopping spots, six nightlife spots and 10 beauty and spas businesses are reviewed in Augusta’s Best of Yelp — it certainly has a base at this point. It also has mobile apps for the major smartphones and a mobile site, which at this point are keys to its future.” Read more


Location services a niche for young males

New York Times
Claire Cain Miller and Jenna Wortham examine the effort to move location sharing into mainstream culture and conclude that user adoption may be more dependent on age than technology.

Despite $115 million in venture capital investments in the past year, only 4 percent of U.S. residents have tried location-based services, and only 1 percent use them regularly. Miller and Wortham report that 80 percent of those users are male, mostly between 19 and 35 years old:

” ‘The magic age is people born after 1981,’ said Mr. [Sam] Altman of Loopt. ‘That’s the cut-off for us where we see a big change in privacy settings and user acceptance.’

“That rings true for Richard Sherer, 65, a freelance writer in Redondo Beach, Calif. ‘I can’t think of anybody who cares where I am every minute of the day except my wife, and she already knows,’ he said. ‘Maybe it’s a generational thing. As we old fogies die off, maybe this will no longer be an issue.’ ”

The low adoption rate for location sharing via Foursquare and Facebook Places is separate from the potential to use location data to provide targeted information to consumers. Online publishers who hope to engage a mobile audience must find ways to utilize location to customize editorial and advertising content.

Check-ins will always be a niche service to some extent, but local news and advertising is the larger market — one that Facebook and others are also pursuing.
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