We know where you are

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I went to Blockbuster yesterday evening and noticed amongst their staple of Will Smith films is the spy thriller Enemy of The State. A key part of the plot is the ease with which NSA government spies can track Will Smith through the use of sophisticated computers and satellites. Move forwards ten years and now through the power of Twitter this technology is available to man on the street.

Twitter has announced plans to become location-aware, incorporating geo-location data into presence data. The will be releasing an API, which means that clever techy people will be able to use this data in lots of different ways. Other services like photo-sharing site flickr have incorporated the ability to handle and use geo-location data for a while, and travel network Dopplr makes use of location ‘middleman’ service Fire Eagle to put the where into your profile.

For the non-technical among us, taking advantage of these services has been made easier as a number mobile handsets are including GPS, allowing their location to be recorded and shared, previously this would have required a separate module connected to your phone by Bluetooth and complex software. Now its indistinguishable from magic.

What does this mean? Communities can organise themselves based on neighbourhood, meet-ups are easier to launch and for PRs it will be even easier to creatively marry real-world experiential activity with an online community.

What do I need to know about or join? I would recommend setting up a flickr account if you haven’t done so already and look to join Fire Eagle so you can see the various different ways that location data can be used. Finally I would recommend that you subscribe to geobloggers by Dan Catt, one of the pioneers in this area.

Have a great weekend, just remember they know where you are.

Archived from blog posts I wrote for PR Week