Location Based Services – A Woman’s Perspective
I’ll admit it, when the concept became a reality over a year ago, I was one of those skeptics that didn’t quite get the purpose behind the medium. Just like when Twitter first came out, we all asked ourselves, “Who cares what we’re doing?” only with location-based services it’s, “Who cares where I am?”
While many of my friends and colleagues in the social media space would check-in here, there, and everywhere, I refused to use the Foursquare’s of the world because quite frankly, I didn’t see the point. Then, I realized what the benefits are and immediately jumped on the bandwagon opening up a profile with Foursquare (and later with Triangle-based, TriOut).
For me, it wasn’t the cool badges I would win or the contest to be “Mayor”. Rather, I was using the service to promote businesses I wanted to support; not necessarily frequent. An added bonus – if my friends (who also checked-in via an LBS platform) happened to be in the neighborhood and wanted to come by to hang out with me, well then freakin’ fabulous!
I have been using Foursquare now for almost a year. I even hold “Mayorships” at four different establishments and have gained eight badges. Well, OK.
Recently, with the acquisition of my iPhone 3G, I downloaded the TriOut app — developed locally by super smart guy, Lawrence Ingraham, and marketed by friend & former colleague, Wayne Sutton— mainly so I could support their business.
As I mentioned previously, my purpose in using either service was to support local businesses. Whether the establishment was a chain or a mom-and-pop, if I wanted to help drive traffic to their business, I would “check-in” and I didn’t see any harm in it. Besides, I’d only check-in if I knew I was meeting people there. I didn’t practice “checking-in” at the grocery store or the local Target either. Again, I didn’t see the harm.
Then I read this incredibly…scary story by blogger Shea Sylvia detailing what happened to her after having checked-in for dinner with friends at one of her favorite restaurants. Basically, one of her Foursquare “friends” phoned her at the restaurant. Yeah. Enough said.
As I read the entry, I really got to thinking. Yes, I want to support my local businesses but do I really need to “check-in” to do that? For you non-social media types, I know what you’re thinking, “No, Lisa, you don’t.” But, I am a social media geek. Why shouldn’t I want to “check-in”?
I was at a conundrum. I like supporting local businesses and yes, I like checking-in, but how do I mesh the two without something like that happening to me?
Then, a Tweet came through my Twitter @reply stream shortly thereafter. Unfortunately, I don’t remember who it was or I would give credit but the gist of it was, “I practice ‘check-out’. That way I still get to support the local business while being safe doing so.”
GREAT idea! I started doing that.
Yet, even today, I wonder – does it make sense for a woman to be revealing where she is located even if she’s with a bunch of people. Yes, there is safety in numbers but for some reason, it still kinda creeps me out.
So what have I decided to do?
Well, my accounts on both Foursquare & TriOut are still open. I’ve accepted Foursquare “friends” (but only those I truly know or have been following on Twitter for quite some time & are local). I’ve even checked-in on TriOut a few times in the last couple of weeks since reading that scary story. Yet, I will say this – I’m not entirely convinced I can continue to support the LBS medium while maintaing my safety. So, my practice in the space has been severely limited.
And I’m perfectly OK with that.
What do you think? Ladies…I especially would love to hear from you. Are you using any LBS? If so, which ones? How often? and Why? Please comment below. I’d love to write a follow up post to this one.