Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Location! Location! Location!

Location! Location! Location! So has been the cry of realtors when buying a house. It's all about the location. Now it seems that some people are using Internet technologies to identify their personal location. Location services have been around for a while with online services like FourSquare, Yelp, and Gbanga. Now with the addition of Facebook's Places, use of location-based social networking will escalate.  Therefore, not only will you be able to tell everyone on the Net everything about you, but now you will be able to indicate where you are, minute by minute. Some stores and other organization have used location-based services as a marketing tool. For example, go to your favourite coffee shop, register that you are having a coffee, repeat 4 more times and get a free beverage on your next visit. Sounds fun?

Here's my problems with location-based services. Now Internet dwellers will not only have a place to post stupid and insignificant 140 character thoughts online but they will also be able to tell us exactly where they are - like I care! The other problem fuels the privacy debate. Have you been watching the news lately? There is more stuff about social networkers available to the public than they may be aware of and now they are going to be telling everyone where they are going, hanging out and vacationing - in real time! Beside coffee shops taking advantage of knowing this, how about other less reputable organizations that would love to know how you spend your day and where you are - spammers and house thieves come to mind.

Big Brother 2000 (UK)George Orwell created Big Brother to watch and rule over the people of Oceania in his novel, 1984. In the society that Orwell describes, everyone is under complete surveillance by the authorities. The people are constantly reminded of this by the phrase "Big Brother is watching you". Sounds to me that Big Brother, (aka location services / social networking), is not forcing himself on netizens, rather netizens are voluntarily giving themselves into the folds of Facebookia.
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