The Value of Geolocation Application

It’s all about the story. When it feels good it works! Just like a conversation.

At #Influencer10 last week there was a bit of healthy conversation around geo-location type platforms –and the question was posed- looking ahead at SCVNGR, places, foursquare, within music, marketing and art– what is the role of geolocation applications?

Or in other words, what is the value of geolocation?

Generally speaking, the value lies in the following: incenting, tracking, locating, finding, searching, playing, sharing, knowing.

But, starting with what we know- there are roughly just under 5M users of geolocation platforms or services. This is less than 1% of the internet user population. 80% of this one percent are males 18-34.

Foursquare (#4SQ, @Foursquare), the most well known application has over 3 millions users. Foursquare solved the problem of having to sms people where you are (hence the flood of creppy guys who want to be your friend)..

The power foursquare has for bars and restaurants are providing them the ability to communicate with consumers. Educational Institutions have leveraged the utilitarian qualities of the technology with applications like Harvard tips, which walk around with you to give you guidance and “tips” around campus. A well known city app called Scoop helps people around the city – find just that – the scoop. These are just a couple uses, as the panel felt strongly that we are just scratching the surface with the potential uses of location-based applications.

But hold on, I though location based applications were for broadcasting where I am located so the world can see?  Kinda, sortof.. “Its about you!” If you want.. Here you go..

But its also about building up social capital and using it not just as a tool to broadcast a self serving message- about your personal focus, where you are and are going. Rather the utilitarian application is worth far more. “Information makes location textually relevant,” rattled off one of the panelist.

Utility vs. self promotion.

“Use location features to bring content to me.” It’s also about empowering people to make better decisions. This isn’t about being social and broadcasting. Location based (or geo-location) applications can be very functional. But now with the introduction of SCVNGR – there is a way to add some emotion into the mixed beyond just playing for points and badges. The concept is simple – Yo go places. Participate in challenges. Gain points and rewards.

This approach capitalizes on the utilitarian function, but provides rewards and incentive to motivate people to act. This platform ties directly into the other social platforms such as Facebook and Twitter by allowing people to broadcast the action or results of their action after facing a challenge. Educational institutions have quickly hopped on board with this platform and are developing all sorts of programs.

A current example is a local New York City program called RE:FORMSCHOOL – a high profile pop-up art installation designed to mobilize the creative community in NYC to engage in the education reformation conversation. SCVNGR will help us create an engaging experience within the pop-up art installation by educating people throughout their trek through the experience.

Essentially, there are four types of challenges that we ask people to perform using SCVNGR. But first they have to download the app. Fortunately here in the city we see slightly higher penetration than the average 26% of mobile phone users, which remains to be a concern for a reach standpoint when dealing with clients. Fortunately, being a pro bono gig results are less important than the implementation and execution of the idea.

After completing all of the challenges, people are awarded points and badges some with additional earned incentive. So for instance, everyone who completes the entire trek on Saturday and Sunday will be entered into a drawing for a pair of tickets to Monday’s closing party. Along the way they might received digital pieces of art from the artist, for completing challenges relevant to each gallery.

The use of geo-location applications does not come without negative issues, most specifically those around privacy. Privacy and publicity are going to be issues going forward. We’re all going to make some mistakes.

Let’s forget the technology for a second. Twitter is roughly 4 years, Facebook is 6 years old; and six years from now who knows. The point is, we must use commonsense and step back with technology. Be smart and use it wisely.

Transparency is a growing trend going forward.

It’s all about how much you want to push out there. Its all about balancing with your personal life that what you to push. Its all about educating our youth about having a personal profile, a public profile, and what it means to publish content about oneself. Your personality online doesn’t always reflect what you are doing. There is no “control z” on the web.

In conclusion, technology affords us a way to learn through actually engaging with the information. The relevancy of that information within the context of our location is what makes geo-location a powerful tool. So use it well, wisely and widely, but be careful and always urge people to use control.


2 Responses to “The Value of Geolocation Application”
  1. jon havemer says:

    I have a brother who makes a better than full time income online.

    It’s so inspiring to see. You and Him give me a reason to keep going when I see what you’ve accomplished just in this blog.

    Alright, I’m back to work! Thanks for the pick me up…

  2. hi!This was a really fine Topics!
    I come from milan, I was luck to discover your blog in yahoo
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