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Is Twitter's Geolocation Jon Stewart's "Stalker"?

Several months ago, Jon Stewart's parody of Twitter by his faux-techie correspondent, Samantha Bee surfaced some of Twitter's potential new competitors. Strangely enough her prescient  investigative report may have been a premonition of things to come, as she described the new social network of "Stalker."

However upon further investigation, while Twitter's Geolocation allows you to track followers based on location and geographic proximity, I don't think its intention is to stalk your tweeps.


In the immortal words of Conrad Hilton, "Location, Location, Location" meant that the location of one's hotel was its most important asset. A 5-Star in a remote location could never match the revenue potential of one located at a highly trafficked crossroads in a major metro hub. Well, Twitter is building on that same premise and rolling out their "Geolocation" feature soon to all who believe in the importance of location.

The launch of the new feature will allow developers to add latitude and longitude to any tweet. Folks will need to opt-in to activate the feature as it will not be available by default. However, when a Twitter member does choose to share their coordinates on a tweet-by-tweet basis, a contextual locator will be added to each new tweet to identify their location.

According to Twitter's blog, "you could switch from reading the tweets of accounts you follow to reading tweets from anyone in your neighborhood or city—whether you follow them or not. It's easy to imagine how this might be interesting at an event like a concert or even something more dramatic like an earthquake."

Twitter is going to release Geolocation to platform developers before they add the feature to Twitter.com. Most of the mobile applications people will have access to this new  Geolocation feature early which means it will most likely be available on your app of choice before it's available on Twitter's web site. However, LBM (location-based-mobile) apps are already available for smart phones, so it will be interesting to see what kind of enhancement Twitter will provide.

So set your coordinates and be ready to start following your favorite followers as they move into close proximity, giving a whole new meaning to one's 'sphere of influence." However, no stalking, please! (well, only if you are on a first-name basis!) 

Comments
Aug 22, 2009
by Anonymous

You do of course realize...

That once again, The Law!!!™ will rear its ugly head, and people will use it for exactly that. There's a service in NY already I believe wherein you can call in a celebrity sighting and it immediately gets posted online where they are. How is this any different? It's my understanding that those with iPhones are already providing location data on their Twitter home page....

Much strangeness, to be sure.