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What’s Up With Location Based Social Networking?

Location based social networking is facilitated by applications like Buzzd, Loopt, BrightKite and Foursquare, which allow mobile smart phone users to “check in” at either map coordinates or location – such as a business, restaurant, or event center.

Recently, Facebook and Twitter added location options. Twitter announced in April that they will allow users to attach metadata to tweets. This data could include location information.

Facebook is teaming up with McDonald’s in what some see as the future of location based social networking. When users check in at any nearby McDonalds, they’ll receive reward coupons for the restaurant.
With 100 million Facebook users who check or update their status from mobile phones every day, Facebook and McDonalds are both hoping the project takes off .

The first, smaller location based companies may be concerned about Facebook’s entrance into the market, given the size of the behemoth. Facebook is also planning to allow members to add their location to any status updates.

The early companies offer games, finding friends, and recommendations of places to visit. With the entrance of Facebook, there may be a quicker move toward targeted advertising and coupons from the businesses a person checks in, such as McDonalds.

For users, the value becomes not only the fun of a game, but an opportunity to get personalized deals. For advertisers, the opportunity to reach a specific niche helps them target their advertising dollars.

Should you jump on board location based networking? Many people predict that this feature will grow, particularly as more and more people begin using smart phones. Privacy and safety will be a primary concern for Facebook, as it has been for the smaller players in the business. However, more people being involved means the more concern about privacy and the more attention companies will pay to the issue.

So as a business, its worth watching location based social networking and its worth considering having a presence in the trend.

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