Location, Location, Location

Nov 27 07

Location, Location, Location

Paul Weinstein

Last week Justin Davies, whom I have had the pleasure of working with virtually on a few technical publication projects in the past, wrote up an interesting personal review of the social networking space.

On a whole, I agree with most of his thoughts [1], the main one being at this point in time, just being a social networking site one is not going to make it big. To be of any success one needs to bring meaning into the social network, such as in Justin’s example relating to his work on BuddyPing in the UK. With BuddyPing where the person’s given location provides context to the importance/mean of the individual’s social network.

What’s interesting is we here at Zoomshare are working on folding in location as a key part our community. On the money side of things location provides a method to focus marketing and advertising programs, as Justin notes, “we could post an ad to a user whose age and location we know, as well as the time of day.” This is nothing new, considering this is the main advantage of web marketing programs; targeting specific content, user types and/or location.

For Zoomshare this also helps bring the community a bit closer together physically. ‘Hey, look here’s a person not that far from me with the same interest/job/age…’ In this example the context of location means Zoomshare becomes something more along the lines of a old-fashion community bulletin board, be it for selling, hooking up, dating, hanging out or whatever.

But Zoomshare is mainly about sharing one’s own content; photos, blogs, calendar events, items for sale. The interesting aspect about location context here is what if one can tag their content based on not just what it is about or when it was created/posted but also from where it was posted. Then your photos not only know when the image was taken but also where. Or your blog entry can note where you wrote that story about Paris from. As GPS devices migrate into more and more electronic devices such as camcorders and cell phones this type of ‘social sharing’ based in context of one’s location or past locations is going to grow.

Moreover that’s just a couple of extremely powerful and obvious examples of “Context Networks” using Zoomshare’s existing tools. Just imagine what other networks can be built using other pieces of information a user is willing to share which can then be used to provide ‘context’ to one’s social network!

[1] If I had to disagree on anything I would nitpick about his naming of Open Social Networks. Justin uses MySpace as an example of a social network that promotes “openness [of one’s social network] through the user experience” which is a mean unto itself, “sometimes used for vanity purposes (Look how many friends I have!)” I don’t disagree with the assessment of MySpace, but with the name, to me an “Open Social Network” is one in which one’s profile and social network are portable, open to other social networks via a well documented (and supported) API.

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