Facebook Places: The Next Step in Online Social Networking
Facebook has taken over just about every aspect of online social networking. With nearly half a billion users you may be wondering if Facebook can take online social networking even further. The answer is yes! Facebook has now integrated a brand new tool already being used by other social networks. On Wednesday August 18th Facebook announced that they would be launching Facebook Places, which is a similar service to Foursquare and Gowalla. This service allows you to use your smart phone’s GPS to announce your presence at various venues by “Checking in.” This application takes your online social interaction and links it to an actual place. So once your status is posted your friends can see if you’re nearby, what you’re doing and what you think about the place……..creating a trail that enables friends to see what you did days or even years ago.
With your Facebook friends already following your everyday life, they now having the ability to know exactly where you are. One may question if online social networks have gone too far? How much privacy does one have to give up to an online social network? There are a few things that Facebook users have been concerned about since Facebook Places launched on Wednesday. Some of these include concerns about personal privacy and confusion on how this new tool will be used. So far Facebook Places is not getting the positive feedback that was expected when it was launched. Since privacy is the biggest concern among Facebook users, sharing your exact location is a big step from posting your everyday thoughts. But since Facebook connects so many people, this new feature can be considered a wonderful and useful perk or another way for people to use Facebook to stalk “friends.”
From a business stand point, adding this feature makes perfect sense. Foursquare currently has 2 million users, and before Facebook launched this application, some users posted their location on Facebook through Foursquare. With the launch of Facebook Places, business will have a new avenue to directly market their products and services to customers. It will probably take some time for Facebook users to adjust to this new feature, but with the success of Facebook Advertising, Groups and Pages, it’s very likely that this new feature will be just as beneficial for users as well as businesses.