Commentary

Check Out Why People Are Checking In (Or More Likely, Not)

When it comes to things like Foursquare, I guess you could call me a square. I've never checked in with the geo-social service, or on any others. I just never saw the benefit of doing that, aside from letting industry insiders know how up-to-speed I am, or perhaps, letting local burglars know when I'm away from home. Why am I telling you this? Because it seems I am not alone. For all the industry hype surrounding geo-social services, most people just don't get them, according to a new study released today by the Pew Internet & American Life Project.

The study finds that a significant percentage of American adults -- 28% -- have used "some kind" of mobile or social location-based services, but the vast majority of those uses have been for navigation or recommendations, not to let your social graph know exactly where you happen to be plotted at that very moment. In fact, 23% of adults have used their mobile phones to get directions or recommendations, a pretty practical app, if you ask me, and one that is bound to grow with mobile usage.

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Check-in services, including Foursquare and Gowalla, by contrast, aren't so popular. According to Pew, just 5% of mobile phone users and 4% of all U.S. adults, use them on their phones, while 9% of Internet users (7% of total adults), use social media networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter to update their friends on their current location.

"Americans are not currently all that eager to share explicitly their location on social media sites, but they are taking advantage of their phones' geo-location capabilities in other ways," says Kathryn Zickuhr, Pew Internet Project research specialist and co-author of the report, which Pew said is the largest of its kind. "Smartphone owners are using their phones to get fast access to location-relevant information on-the-go."

2 comments about "Check Out Why People Are Checking In (Or More Likely, Not)".
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  1. Jim Dugan from PipPops LLC, September 6, 2011 at 9:45 p.m.

    Or more likely not. Joe, I'm posting the same comment that I made to your last post - Piling On - it is:

    Groupon's business model IS flawed. I'm not going to pile on, but so is LivingSocial's. In fact, most all of them are flawed in this field today.
    And, if you HAVE a flawed business model, it's not a matter of how much money a company has or raises.

    Here's a key: FACT - Users want a variety of offers in a variety of categories to use at their convenience. That means whenever they/we want.

    We/They don't want to be force fed a DEAL A DAY. And, seriously, to do what? Drive 25 miles to save 50% on some spa treatment? Martial Arts? And the occasional restaurant? I really feel sorry for the owners when I think about what angst this will be creating for most of them.

    Truly, we, they, and you know it. You want to be able to go at your leisure to one site to see all of the deals today and tomorrow and next week. If you could.

    Not only that, behavioral research and current data are showing that with the stunning growth of mobile (it was expected by me for years) that you would prefer to see all of these deals on your mobile whenever and wherever you want, don't you?

    Oh, and yeah, it's not a bad thing to get a good deal on something. You'll have all of them available on your mobile phone and you have that with you all of the time, don't you?

    And . . . Not to have to print it (just in case you aren't at home when you decide you want to stop for lunch).

    So, perfect solution is one mobile site with over 300 categories to cover all types of businesses, advertiser supported and created, free to users, click to call, four color, video postings, with barcoded offers to be redeemed at the point of purchase for instant savings, plus instant analytics for the advertiser.

  2. Jim Dugan from PipPops LLC, September 6, 2011 at 9:46 p.m.

    BTW, hope your readers READ, digest, and understand your last post "PILING ON" - thanks for your efforts and insights.

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