Initial Thoughts on Facebook Places


We all know that I’m a Foursquare fan girl.  I’m not going to even pretend that I’m not.  So I was particularly interested in what Facebook Places was going to bring to the table.  And well, I’m kind of underwhelmed.

The biggest issue that is making the rounds is the fact that your friends can check you in.  The social media types all know how this is going to go.  People are going to think that they’re funny and check us into random places.  In fact, I’m already thinking of all the places I can check Mike the Boyfriend into. (I won’t but it doesn’t mean I won’t encourage others to do it.)  And then there are the privacy phobes that simply don’t want people to know where they are.  We have already seen how much noise they can make with previous privacy issues.  I don’t think there is any possibility that this feature will last.  And that is simply because we are all turning it off.

The other feature that I think will go away is the one that allows people to see who is at a location.  Yes, that is a GREAT feature on Foursquare.  I constantly use it to see who I should be meeting up with at a happy hours and other events.  I can’t scream how much I love this feature on Foursquare enough.  It can’t be translated onto Facebook.  Once again, I’m looking at you privacy phobes.  You don’t want people to know where you are unless you have a prior relationship, and even then, you don’t like it.  Therefore, you all will turn this feature off as well.

Then there is what this will do to the stream.  I know a lot of people that unfollow anyone that tweets every single check-in.  It’s annoying.  And there are a lot of tweets in most streams.  There aren’t nearly as many Facebook posts out there.  I think even broadcasting a few check-ins will get old fast.

Finally, there is no incentive.  To be honest, the only reason why I check-in to Foursquare is because I think I might get something out of it (badge, mayorship, coupon, etc.).  Without that, I don’t tend to check-in.  That means I have absolutely no reason to check-in via places.  And I like location-based applications.  Chew on that for a second.

Yes, Facebook seems to have a head start in that it has 500 million users, but these users are overall very different from those that use location-based applications.  The average Facebook user doesn’t like to share too much.  They like to keep things close to the chest.  And those that aren’t like that tend to be more friendly with Twitter than Facebook.  So Facebook has A LOT to overcome with their average user and they have to woo back these other users as well.  Especially since I’m seeing a lot of tweets on how to turn off just about every feature of Places.

Do I think you should not play with Facebook Places?  Hell, no.  Play, jump and giggle with it.  It’s a tool, and it could be helpful.  Just be aware, this is its first incarnation and it’s going to change.  Be okay with that and let’s see what this baby can do.

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