Twitter: Car 54, Where Are You?

This Little Birdy Went to Japan

This Little Birdy Went to Japan

Twitter announced recently that it is adding “location services” to its micro-blogging service.  This means that users will soon be able to (optionally) enable their twitter posts (or “tweets”) to include the location they’re sending the message from.

For instance if I am travelling in the Andes mountains with my iPhone (and I somehow magically
manage to acquire a signal) and I want to tell everyone through a Twitter post, the message provide my exact coordinates.  This way my Twitter ollowers can view my location on a map.

It may seem like a small change at first blush but the possibilities are both spooky and very intriguing.  Some example uses people have dreamed up for this are:

  • · Use to send message in an emergency so friends can find you fast
  • · Find new people to follow on the service that are physically near to you (maybe to see if a colleague in your meeting uses the service)
  • · Find reviews of local hot spots in a foreign town based on past tweets in the area
  • · News organizations might use it to report surges in tweets for a given hyper-local area

In addition to all kinds of wonderful possibilities, there are scary implications.  Even though the feature will be optional, it remains to be seen how exactly this will interfere with privacy and possibly lend a hand to criminals.

Whatever the use, now that Twitter will soon allow native geo-tagging to each message sent on its service, we have some interesting times ahead of us.

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