The Drama of Facebook Places and Social Media Privacy
LBS (location-based services) are all the rage. There are your run-of-the-mill services like Foursquare, Gowalla, Brightkite, Yelp, etc. Now there are other niche-type services like GetGlue (which is to share what you're watching, reading, talking about, listening to) and Foodspotting (you guessed it: location-based food sightings).
Now, as everyone has written about already, we have Facebook Places. And, with the launch of Places we're again reading about a slew of privacy concerns.
It's amazing that within the privacy conversation that the word "choice" seems to disappear. Yes, telling people where you are, 24 hours a day, does come with some security concerns. However, consumers have a choice whether or not to share their location, period. In fact, consumers have a choice in terms of the information they share online in general. We, in this hyper-local, media-hungry society, tend to forget that. Yes, we the consumers are in control.
So, what does this mean for businesses who want to get into the location-based game? Well, if you look at the data of consumers who use LBS, you'll see that brands won't be able to hit mass market levels just yet. Why? Well, privacy concerns could be a logical guess. But early adopters are the key factor here, i.e. the techno geeks and those who are in tune with social media tend to gravitate to LBS more than others (and out of that population, it's mostly older males who participate in the LBS game).
There's a delicate balance of what consumers will share and how far they will go to engage with a brand via social media. As a result, brands need to go the extra mile to meet consumers in that middle ground, that gray area if you will. LBS is that grey area because of privacy concerns. Brands that alleviate some of the stresses over privacy will be the ones who are praised in the LBS game, e.g. in-store coupons, event-driven campaigns (where consumers WANT to share their location), etc.
What privacy concerns do you have about social media or LBS in particular?