How do you think of location-based social media?


(This picture is cited from Google images.)

When putting technology, smart phone, and social media all together, you shouldn’t avoid the emergence of LBS- location based social media.

According to Wikipedia, “Location-based services are a general class of computer program-level services used to include specific controls for location and time data as control features in computer programs”. Basically, location based services are applied through mobile apps as well as the mobile network with GPS service.

However, when combing LBS to social media platforms, here are number of things to be discussed and debated.

1. the world of location-based social media

Social media platforms like Facebook and Foursquare are both being as great practitioners of location-based social media. Figures from socialmediaexaminer has shown that in 2010, Foursquare announced that it had more than 6.5 million members worldwide. Statistics from SocialTimes has also addressed that the people who receive location-based information has doubled at 23 percent in May 2011 to 41 percent in February 2012. For example, when you are posting a picture on your Facebook timeline, you are able to add the location of where this picture was taken. Once after you have posted this picture, all the people in your community could see the location information along with the post content. According to PCWorld, one of the simplest features on location-based social media is check-in. With this feature, people are happy to tell their friend about “where am I” and “what I am doing right now”.

2. why location-based social media

It seems that location sharing could be a personal and secret thing in the past. However, with LBS, the truth is: most of the people are happy to share their personal information to their community. With social media, people are being engaged with information sharing and exchanging. Moreover, with more and more apps being developed on smartphones nowadays, people are easier to be offered with certain places like restaurants. They can express their opinions about the places they have been to within their communities and even make some recommendations.

3. dark sides with LBS

Although various PR experts and practitioners have mentioned lots of benefits engaged with location-based social media, the limitations of it are worth to be mentioned. Firstly, location doesn’t mean everything. Besides the commercial campaigns, we have to admit that most people are using LBS on social media just for fun. For the users, they could choose whether to share the location, how detailed they are going to present the location, and to whom they are going to tell this information. This means that in terms of business goals, the decision power is depended on the customers’. And what’s more, this service is largely relying on GPS and smartphones.

4. challenges of location-based social media

Business campaigns and strategies on social media apps are facing a great chance to engage more customers with little cost. Organizations could think of more creative and interesting ways to attract customers to check-in at the goal locations, thus automatically making advertisement around the customers’ friends. Again, personally, I am wondering that since all the locations people have checked in are displaying separately, why not thinking about putting the sites together and making up a location map or relationship map according to different apps? This could be more interesting and may have a new opportunity for business campaigns somehow.


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