Geosocial networking is social networking that is relative to where you are – and in my humble opinion, it’s where this communications revolution will be headed next. I’m not talking about information posted about a place, like the restaurant reviews in Yelp, though that is geosocial media too.
I mean the kind of posts people make when they are out on the town, relating real-time experiences as they happen.
- The biggest example of geosocial media can be seen in the news coming out of Iran these days – a coup is under way, and it is fuelled by Iranian citizens’ ability to post video about what is going on in their region now. It is the kind of media attention the major news outlets simply cannot capture themselves, and they know it – which is why they keep using the footage themselves.
- Politics starts at home, and now it can be viewed by the entire world. So if you are a politician and you turn evil, you’d better expect your neighbor to train a camera on you from now on.
- Smart phone apps have all the ease-of-use of a laptop when it comes to networking. They are also capable of pinpointing your location via GPS. When these phones become truly mainstream, people will be willing and able to post about where they are and what they’re doing. When people use their cell phones to post remotely to Twitter that they’re out somewhere doing something, that’s the heart of geosocial networking right there.
- Posts that tell people that you’re sitting at your computer, again, are boring. The biggest complaint people have about Twitter is that it’s a bunch of people posting, “Eating chicken for dinner,” as if anyone would care. Geosocial media allows you to go out into the world and see new things.
- This kind of networking is fun – and can add to your experience. Disney knows this – they are currently working with Verison to develop a park navigation app for visitors. It’s a smart application of existing technology no one else had considered before. Once it takes off, expect to see more of this kind of thing at malls, swap meets, state fairs, and other large area events and locations. (Once the people who go to the state fair have smart phones, of course.)
- These applications also allow you to share images of where you are and what you’re doing. Again, this is a whole lot more interesting than pictures of you sitting at your desk at work. (I’m not pointing fingers – I have a LOT of those in circulation myself.)
- Facebook is going to need to grow into a new space. While they currently dominate the market of social networking sites, they have the same flaw MySpace had: Too much talking, not enough listening. It is possible to spend hours on Facebook loading picutres, watching videos, and playing games without ever talking to anyone. Even if one did, on average a person’s followers are friends they know in real life anyway. Since geosocial is about meeting people in your immediate vicinity, whether you know them already or not, it would introduce a lot of users to that aspect of social networking a lot of us like the most: Making friends and learning something new.
- Photography sites like Flickr and Picasa, as well as video sites like YouTube, already have geotagging functions in place. With all of the camera phones out today, this lets people not just create photo albums but placecards of where they’ve been to go with the pictures. Now that the iPhone and G1 have video recording as part of their standard packages, expect to see a lot more videos geotagged as well.
If you want to look into how geosocial works, check out some of these sites and see if one of them works for you. My personal choice is Brightkite – I used it extensively to record my trip to Disneyworld earlier this year. You may feel more at home with one of these others: