Saturday, 27 November 2010

Institutionalised Stalking

I'm getting asked more and more often about whether we will take some kind of official position with foursquare (the location service, not the grocer). And of course some time soon Facebook's answer to foursquare will be rolled out in New Zealand and presumably become dominant.

Is it just me or are location services the most insidious and potentially dangerous development in the short history of electronic social networking? It amazes me that people disregard the possible consequences of voluntarily creating their own public, electronic trail for whatever short term benefit it gives them. And facebook's feature that lets other people create your trail for you is even more mind-boggling.

Call me a curmudgeon, but I find the whole subject very troubling, especially since people seem to expect us to embrace the whole idea. (Hashigo Zake was "registered" as a location on foursquare months ago without me being consulted.)

Keen to get feedback....


  1. "You're a curmudgeon"!

    No, but seriously, I agree with you. My reasons aren't exactly the same as yours though. I'm not really that worried about the cyber stalking aspect, mainly because having seen how the tech has been used, it just doesn't seem to have been an issue. Sure, it might be, but I dislike foursquare et al for other reasons.

    I'm a huge believer in twitter. It's "opt in" marketing at its finest. People follow you because they want to feel connected, and it's a great way of building a great relationship. For a bar, it's a dream. You can tell your customers when new beers go on tap, or when you've got something special coming in. It astounds me that every bar in the country doesn't do this. I'm still trying to convince the nice guys at House on Hood here in the 'tron to use twitter more effectively.

    Location services degrade twitter. They fill up my feed with annoying location updates from people who otherwise tweet interesting content. In essence, they lower the signal to noise ratio, making my twitter feed less useful.

    I also don't like the incentives some venues are creating to use the services (ie. Mayor of Venue X gets a free pint, or whatever). This exacerbates the noise issue, and starts creating antipathy towards a venue who may otherwise have been a great communicator on twitter.

    Sorry for the long comment. I started and couldn't stop!

  2. Greig - you owned this blog post with that reply. I agree wholeheartedly and now consider you the mayor of