Remember what privacy is? It is often discussed and to be honest, I’m not as much of a believer in privacy as many others. I don’t really mind if a company like Google gets access to all of my data, email and search history. Sure, someone with access to that info could surely digg up some interesting things. But nothing much worse than most users. If I were to become a celebrity or politician it might be more of an issue for me but I guess I would simply be more careful when I surfed the internet.
Facebook is often named as one of the primary privacy concerns on the internet and I can see why some would worry. Sure, you can find a lot of info about a given person through Facebook; their friends, what they do, pictures, etc, etc. But again, I think that unless you have something to hide (say calling sick for work when your Facebook profile would clearly show you had a wild night out instead), there is not much to worry about. However, I do understand how that can be debatable and very good arguments could be brought up for the other side (pro-privacy).
Beware the next level of social websites
That being said, after Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, the new generation of social media players seems to be coming from a very local and personal area. Take Foursquare, one of the most hyped private companies right now. Within a few months, you will probably start hearing about the anticipated IPO, in the same way that we now hear about Facebook or Twitter’s IPO’s. Foursquare is a company that basically uses your mobile devices to track you down, physically. Then, you can allow all your friends and family to know exactly where you are. It could become to the local web a success story like Mint has been for personal finance.
I don’t know about you but to me that sounds a bit extreme. Think about not answering your doorbell because you fell tired? What if the person knocking knew you had just arrived home? I can see the convenience for some but in general I would personally not like to have friends and family being able to track me down so easily. Looking for a quiet dinner with your wife? You might have scheduled it but who says that a group of friends won’t stop by when they’ll see on their device that you are a block away?
Is it me is that just a bit too much? I can see the commercial appeal as advertisers would LOVE to reach out to users. Imagine a restaurant that has a few free tables. They could send a message to all users within a few blocks of the restaurant with some specials. That would probably be convenient for both the business and the end user.
So the question, do you think this business has a future? Would you invest in such a company? I guess eventually, if it catches on, others like Facebook and Twitter could offer the same features right? Or will they be too late?