Why GeoLocation is so Addicting

by francine Hardaway on December 5, 2009

When I started on Brightkite, it was only because I try every piece of software I can. I couldn't believe it would be something I'd want to use. After all, why tell people where you are? However, it wasn't long before I was posting photos of my dogs from the beach at Half Moon Bay. And then I discovered Trail Guru, which could tell me the distances of my hikes and help me find my way. An iPhone App, Trail Guru transferred my exercises from the phone to the site, so I could see how many miles I travelled in a week, biking, walking, or running (well, no longer running). For a while I was addicted to that.

Then came the payoff: push notifications. Switching to Foursquare to join all my buddies who departed Brightkite,  I discovered it was fun to see where everyone else checked in, and to compete for silly useless things like Mayorship, Badges, and being first among my friends on any given week.  I am a fierce competitor, beaten weekly only by some strangers in Phoenix who must be pizza delivery people or bike messengers. I mean, I found myself trying to unlock the "Player" badge (I did) and the "Gym Rat" badge (I didn't, and it still bugs me why I haven't). And now I'm equally into Gowalla, which has a pretty interface, an apparently less competitive raison d'etre, and some funny things you can drop out of your pack to become a founder of places.

Really, though, these geolocation apps are addictive because they are a simple version of online multi-player games, and because they extend the idea of community.  Today, for instance, I followed my friend Chris Johnson from Terralever on his errands.  He went to the car place, and the market, and he ended up at the Rockerij at 4:30. Jeez, wasn't he just at Dick's Hideaway (owned by the same people) last night? Hmmm…maybe he has food trade or something:-)

While he was going to places in Phoenix, Steward Alsop was moving at breakneck speed through the Bay Area. I swear he uploads all his geo posts at once; no one can check in that many places in such a sort time. I suspect he's an investor in Gowalla.

And lots of men checked in at soccer fields today, taking their kids to practice or the game, spending time with the family.

It's a window on the world, and I really love it.  I learn about the people by knowing where they are and what they do, just as they learn about me.  And I think we are all the better for it. Besides, you can always turn those notifications off if you don't want to know what your friends are doing. Me, I never will. I'm too nosy.

Posted via email from Not Really Stealthmode

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

typ0224 December 6, 2009 at 8:12 pm
wangshumei February 6, 2010 at 10:52 pm

In the spirit of Christmas, howuggs outlet can we fix this? If I close the
accounts, you ding my credit. If I use the cards you ding my credit.
You are the only people charging me 29.9% interest, which is why I
never use your cards. Is that what you want? Does that serve you any
better than it serves me? Use your head.

Anonymous May 24, 2011 at 6:09 am

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