I love social media. And by that catch-all ‘social media’ phrase (which is a bit like this decades upgrade on ‘I love the internet’ – i...

Love, revenge and geo-tagged martinis

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I love social media. And by that catch-all ‘social media’ phrase (which is a bit like this decades upgrade on ‘I love the internet’ – i.e. don’t we all, love?) I am referring to sites, applications and technology that enable me to connect and share more easily. So much so that last week, someone said something funny to me and like a social super geek I squeaked “RETWEET!”, with some gusto out loud. It wasn’t my finest moment. But despite being a social media lover, and having over 14 different social accounts and log-ins, I still avoid geo-tagging my tweets, checking in anywhere on facebook/ foursquare or geo-tagging any of my phone pics. I am still very cautious about letting the world know where I am at anyone time.

Why? Well, originally, I was concerned about security. But now, I am wondering if in fact there is something else we should be considering when making location-based posts. More recently, I’ve been thinking about the implications of social media & technologies on our behavior within society, and ultimately on how this will affect us as consumers.

Geo-location offers are the latest buzz-chat of the social industry right now but where do the boundaries around locative privacy truly lie? A quick example of how location based services can completely change the course of life was presented to me this weekend by a friend. Two weeks ago, she suspected her husbands’ late nights at the office were a clich├ęd front for a sordid affair. So what did she do? She decided to appoint Chief Inspector Social Media to the case and scoured the interwebs to quickly stumble upon some open software called Creepy - a geo-location information aggregator:

“...creepy is an application that allows you to gather geo-location related information about users from social networking platforms and image hosting services. The information is presented in a map inside the application where all the retrieved data is shown accompanied with relevant information (i.e. what was posted from that specific location) to provide context to the presentation....”

Within minutes she had a detailed account of all of the locations her husbands’ social interactions had been made from. Alas, very few tweets were from the office. Needless to say, we checked into the nearest cocktail bar for some espresso martini therapy and she re-categorized his office on FourSquare to a ‘strip club’ in a truly glorious example of modern revenge. Vodka and a spot of social vengeance seemed to soften the blow a bit. But whilst she starts her week off picking up the pieces of a broken marriage, I can’t help but muse over whether we can ever truly be private in this age of social sharing.

What are the social implications of being able to be tracked 24-7? No longer can you let a friend down gently if you don’t want to go for coffee with the “I’m not feeling well”. Will we have to start being completely honest and saying “I just don’t feel like listening to you prattle on about your new baby today”? Or would you just have to check-out of all social interactions to cover our backs? We might be starting to evolve the common or garden white lie right out of modern society with our addiction to sharing. Interestingly, in age where talking about and sharing about yourself is standard and expected, it seems that those who choose not to share will be the new radicals.

Lastly, I recently saw an article in the ES Magazine, which hinted towards a movement of reputation management of the individual online. The article was titled ‘Jobs of the future’. They suggested that the future will see a plethora of ‘Reputation Groomer’s who will charge top Dollar for their services as someone who will improve your personal ‘cache’– i.e. The info about an individual that can be found on the internet. In the future you say? Hell, I’m thinking my friends (ex) husband could use one of those guys right now! And by the way, most social & PR agencies are already doing this for brands.

As a marketer, and with brands tripping over each-other on their way to Ye Grande Location Based Offer Shoppe, I am both fascinated and flabbergasted at how quick we all are to jump into the deep end without considering the options. Just because LBM (location based marketing) is new and has had some traction, does not mean it is right for all brands and products. Shock, horror…. What if your target consumers don’t want to share their offer redemptions with the world, or worse still, are desperate to redeem but don’t want the world to know where they were when they did? Whilst I love the idea of using LBM as part of a richer mix of activity, I do think that brands will need to be smart about it.

So, is all fair in love, advertising and geo-tagging? I’d say so.

By Michaela MacIntyre (@mich_maci)
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