Twitter: We Know Where You Are

twitter locationThat’s right, Twitter knows where you are without even checking in with Foursquare, Gowalla, etc. to discover your city and its surroundings. Location and location based tweeting is not new to Twitter as back in August 2009 they unveiled new features/geo-tagging that were and still are opt-in. Instead of forcing an opt-in, Twitter took a bigger step and acquired Mixer Labs, the creator of GeoAPI. GeoAPI takes tracks your exact location via the latitude and longitude, a practice known as a reverse geocoder.  The technology itself is not new as cell phone companies have been able to track your location to a certain “pinged” area when your phone is on and “connects” to a tower, but this is an exact location.  So, Twitter knows where I am as I write this post (looks around) and my cell company has an idea as I am pinging to a certain cell tower. Creepy?

What is the significance?  Who really cares? Businesses care or should.  The first or I guess second step to geo-targeting is Local Trends. Local trends allows you as the user to set a location (very similar to geo-tagging) but the difference appears to be that once you set your location, you are able to access local trending topics.  Local Trends has only been unveiled to 1% of Twitter users, however Outspoken Media’s Lisa Barone was the first to give us a glimpse: twitter local trends

Naturally there are questions  – for instance, what happens if I am someone that travels A LOT, can I change my location so I can see if anything that interests me is trending?  YES.  You can change your location.  This is great but at the same time, isn’t it easier and friendlier to send out a tweet to find a good restaurant or happenings in a city from people you “know?”

As a business, this is a great tool as you can see what is trending in your city and analyze the data to see what is popular and what is not and how you can be proactive and reactive.  As an individual name as is mine as on Twitter as opposed to the company name as the handle,  I am on the fence.  I am not so sure that I want everyone on Twitter to know my exact location, where I frequent or on the flip side where I do not.  Maybe I am old-fashioned but if you want to know where I am at or what I am doing so we can chat, call me, text me, email me, tweet me, FB me, FF me, LI me … maybe that is just me.

Not every city is available at this time for local trending but that is a matter of time.  Twitter is a great source for breaking news and how we can stay on top of what is going on world wide.  Different things affect different areas and being able to focus in on what is happening in a certain area absent of spam is valuable.  Twitter has changed the way that we receive news, information and the way that we share.  With real time breaking news on Twitter, how much TV news do we really watch anymore or need to watch?  Extended coverage is afforded with TV and for sporting events you cannot beat watching it live but with Twitter you are never really out of the loop.

How do you feel about Twitter knowing exactly where you are?  Business,  yes I say they do want this but individually? Is this where the local business that engages in social media pulls away from those that do not?

photo credit: HelloTurkeyToe

  • Freedom James

    One can't help but wonder what all of this knowledge and accessibility will lead to beyond mktg. and sales aka fishing for new customers… What if, like the movies or worse, spam, all of your business (literally) fell into the wrong hands?

    Strike a balance between the needful and the invasive is what I say. There is a price to pay for doing business at any cost and it's not pay-per-click advertising! <smh>

  • seanmcvey

    I don't know if I like that Twitter or any other program know where I am. That's why I have stayed away from programs like Foursqure. Is this not creepy to anyone else?

  • RM_InBoundMarketingPR

    I have to agree with seanmcvey, for an individual it is creepy.. But for a business, this could be a goldmine. I love that you touch on the real time news and the way twitter has changed the way we receive news. I for one have cut down my tv time and increased my social sites time and still get all the news, local or worldwide.

    Thanks again for such a great post and keeping us updated!

  • It is creepy. I have a foursquare to see what it was about and do not check in. I think that this is the way that this will go but there will be limitations as we have to be certain that there will be problems with stalking and the like. Sadly that is the times we live in.

  • Yes it is good for a business as you know who is coming to your establishment, know the good and the bad about what is being said and can react to it. I barely watch TV at this point as I get so much news online. When seeking additional coverage, the tv is my resource. It does take up space nicely in the living room and cuts down on the echo factor.

    Thanks so much for reading and commenting.

  • Exactly! What happens when this gets into the wrong hands? What will companies do with the information if they are new to the space and not sure how to reach out to customers or negatives? It is a time when exposure is is great and as a marketer it is valuable but I really do not want to know everyone's exact location. It just becomes too much. It is just creepy to me, period. If I want to tell people where I am then that is my choice but when I am pinging from my house that to me is off limits.

    Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment. Much appreciated

  • RM_InBoundMarketingPR

    lol… I totally agree with the echo comment… I thoroughly enjoy your blogs, they are truly full of great content.

    Have a great day!