Is anyone here into geotagging? You know, stuff like Fourscquare, Gowalla, Plazes, location tags in your Twitter and Facebook feeds. Does anyone here does this kind of stuff?
Personally, I don’t get any of that. Or rather I do get it. I can kinda see the attraction of these services – being able to share your location with friends, see where they are at all times and participate in the little social game of checking in, and becoming a mayor of something. I can imagine that this is why a lot of people do this. But I just cant think of a single good reason to do it myself. On the other hand I have a long list of reasons not to.
First, it would be pretty pointless. I don’t actually go to any interesting places. My location feed would basically just oscillate between 4 or 5 different locations (which include home, work and school) at a very regular intervals with almost no deviations. Close study of that pattern would most likely reveal that I have no social life to speak of, which is probably not something I would like to advertise on the internet. Like I did right now for example.
Second, if I would geotag my location people could actually find me. Not that I’m antisocial (that’s a lie, I totally am), I just don’t want the internet showing up on my porch. You see, I have this blog where have opinions about things, which is probably just about the worst thing you can do. Granted, I don’t get enough traffic for this to be a major problem (and when I do my server just keels over and dies scaring the new visitors away), but I do get some hate mail from time to time. For example, last week I got a lovely email from some Borderlands fan who called me a fag, a fruit, a homo and a rectal pirate because I was not very fond of the game he happened to enjoy very much. Would I really want such an upstanding gentleman to have real time access to my geographical location?
I could make all that stuff private, but then who do I let to see it? Close friends and family only? Well, then there is hardly any point of doing it then, since they already know where I am most of the time (see above, I really don’t go anywhere). Not to mention that this would require me to make lists and try to fight with the privacy settings of whichever service I would be using to get it configured. As far as I can tell, most social networks interpret “private” as “open to anyone who you have friended ever”. Can you of the top of your head identify all the people in your social graph you no longer talk to, or wouldn’t want to share location information with? I can’t, but I’m fairly sure I am friends with some people I don’t actually know in real life. Which I’m fine with, but this is something you ought to think about when you sign up for these location services.
Not to mention the fact that the geolocation service on your phone eats battery. I usually keep it switched off most of the time to cut down on power and resource consumption. It’s not like I need to use the one of the many “find cool shit near you” apps that often. Since I never really go anywhere, 99% of the time I will be looking up stuff near my house or my work – so I can actually pick one of these two locations from a list.
Do you use any of these services? What do you get out of them? Were you ever in a situation where they actually came in handy and made a positive difference in your life? Did you ever have a privacy issue related to one of these services?
Let me know in the comments.