Twitter + Location-Based Tweets = “TwitterStalk”

21 08 2009

Location is everything.  So it comes as no surprise that one of the fastest climbing social media sites on the web is adding a location feature to their social toolset.  Twitter has just announced that their new location API will soon be rolled out to users to couple location data with individual tweets for a more robust set of information.  Imagine you are road tripping to Portland to visit a friend and make a Quiznos pit-stop.  As a Twitter user they will be able to tell that you are at the Quiznos in Hood River and will arrive on their doorstep in under an hour.  This combination will in theory make each tweet more meaningful (as content and users will be searchable by actual location), relevant and develop into a more powerful business, marketing and personal tool with this additional layer of data.

Not long from now, knowing someone’s precise location in real-time will be a huge part of how Twitter is turning the corner towards new and data-driven innovations – even before Facebook has had the chance to add a similar location-based element to their site.  Being able to accurately “TwitterStalk” an individual by location may raise speculation, but perhaps this “I know Where You Tweeted from Last” addition will be able to bring relevancy to even the most useless of tweets by placing them in context by location.  Thus, making the Twitter experience more impactful for more users.

And on another note, the opt-in aspect of this location feature should help to avoid the indignation of even their most privacy-paranoid users.  Your location will only be shared if you check the box.

So how will this change help us and help Twitter users worldwide?

  • People will be able to more accurately search for the information they are looking for.
  • Tweets can be filtered efficiently by location, making you an even more informed stalker.
  • There is the potential to build and launch a location-based ad network – which I know we’ve all been waiting to see when Twitter would take a stab at this.

We, as social media users and consumers, are much more adapted to the constant changes that happen daily within the social media landscape than we were just 3 years ago.  In the fall of 2006, I can recall the racket that ensued around my college campus when Facebook added their first generation “Mini-Feed”, and which quickly inspired an outburst of “groups against the Facebook Mini-Feed” in heated protest.  This whole new level of knowledge of what friends were doing on Facebook was mind boggling.  Now several years down the road, the idea that we can see the actual location that someone is posting from is exciting and highly anticipated by many users.  Getting news and information from friends and connections in real-time is the norm, and waiting to read headlines as they roll off the press seems archaic.

With the rise of Twitter and the mass of second-by-second information sharing, the need and expectation that this would be taken to the next level was imminent.  Location information is the next big thing, and the big online powerhouses like Google have already begun their work on it.  Google was on the ball first, launching Google Latitude.  The smart players like Twitter have to adapt, re-tool and innovate to not only keep up, but to continue to evolve the way we use social media.

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