Experiment with Location-Based Apps

Assignment: Experiment with using at least one of the location-based check-in services for one week. It may be difficult, but in doing this, remember to try to find ways to, again, be relevant to your topic of focus. Reflect on class blog on the experience.

Geo-social/location-based media are a relatively new arena of social media use in my experience. However and as previously discussed on this blog, I have long valued and heavily utilized Facebook’s “Check In” feature.  I’ve enjoyed doing this as a function of curating a sort of ‘personal biography’ on Facebook. It’s always fun to go back and reminisce over places I’ve been and memorable things I’ve seen–all handily contained on my Facebook profile.

Becoming introduced to the series of other tools largely dedicated to this type of “checking in” on social media has therefore been a thrill for me. I have particularly experimented with Foursquare and Yelp.

I had heard of Foursquare a few years ago when a friend of mine from Chattanooga’s activity on the app showed up on her Facebook wall. I inquired with her about what it was/how it worked, but our discussion didn’t get into enough detail for me to even investigate it. It seemed silly to me at that point.

My, how things can change.

As an assignment my Social Media Theory course, I took the opportunity to personally see what Foursquare was all about.  And I have certainly at least had some fun with it.

My typical daily routine revolves around really only two things: food and school.  That’s where the bulk of my check-ins on Foursquare have been.  That seems fairly boring and uneventful, I guess–especially when I’m still striving to build a network of friends on the app.  But imagine my elation when, going through this normal routine and checking in at my usual haunts, I got a badge notification recently informing me that I have been designated the MAYOR of El Porton, a local Mexican restaurant. I knew  about the existence of this designation but considered that it would probably be far away that I could ever achieve the distinction because my account was so new. You can imagine my surprise, then, when I was awarded a mayorship pretty quickly. I guess I eat a lot of Mexican food at El Porton.  Either way, I got a kick out of the experience and as far as I know I’m still the mayor. 😉

In the process of using Foursquare for my routines, I have frequently noticed that the tips provided by other users actually do come in handy.  I have previously discussed the advantages herein for journalists, who may be able to use this tip option to add information to a specific location where they may be covering a story. This is just another way for reporters to get the news out in a brand new arena, specifically targeted to users like me who have come to appreciate the fun and functionality in using location-based services. In addition, I left a few tips of my own on Foursquare and have seen those tips acknowledged by other users.

I also have experimented with Yelp to some extent.  I wrote a review for a local restaurant (you guessed it, El Porton), and actually got some response from other users who read my review.  This app basically appears to be a mobile recommendation service. As opposed to the ‘recent old days’ of consulting sites like Urban Spoon and other review-based websites, now it’s so much easier to just activate Yelp and find all the consumer recommendation-based information one could ever hope to need about local eating establishments and other service industry outlets.

Needless to say, my long-established history and notorious habit of checking in on Facebook has now taken on an even more frenzied identity.  And indeed, if my parents back in Georgia don’t hear from me for a few days and start to get worried and wondering where I am, all they have to do is figure out how to activate Facebook or Foursquare and they’ll now exactly where to find me. 😉

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One thought on “Experiment with Location-Based Apps

  1. Carrie Brown says:

    Glad you enjoyed it, Barry. It’s even more fun when traveling. I think the Foursquare/Facebook integration is pretty good, too. I think the I ‘personal biography’ aspect is a good way to describe it – I think that is what I find compelling about it as well.

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