Will Facebook Places Cause People to Rethink Friends?

Will Facebook Places Cause People to Rethink Friends?  

Facebook places has been running in Ireland for a week today and I do like it, but I also think it will cause people to review who are their friends on Facebook.  

Most people have modest numbers of friends on Facebook but still probably more than Dunbars 150 .  This is a theoretical number but its widely recognised that many peoples friends on Facebook have very tenuous links to real friendship.  This has happened for lots of reasons but generally people randomly accepted friend requests as they arrived and never really queried them.  I think the first few weeks of Facebook Places will see people rethink who they have in their friends list.  

With Foursquare the pool of friends was fairly small and generally people were quite careful about signing in at home.  Normally people would manipulate the map to show their house in a different area.   The profile of people using Foursquare is very different to the vast number of people on Facebook.  Foursquare also started from the premise of sharing your location with people and hence you entered with eyes wide open. Facebook did not have this beginning so its a new phenomenon and so likely to be disruptive.  

Withìn the first week of Facebook places I have been surprised by the amount of people who have checked in at home.  Perhaps they don’t care or don’t realise that this gives a pin point location of where they live and for the very curious what their houses look like with street view.  

I am personally not comfortable with Facebook or many friends having that sort of intimate detail.  One of the things I have also noticed is that I am getting much more responses from people verbally and via email, text and Facebook itself, commentin on where I have checked in.  Some of this is curiosity with a new tool and will become as invisible as other wall posts over time.   

Facebook Check In However I think that as people get notes and approaches from friends showing not only that they know what they have done but where they are, that people will start to cull people who they acquired as friends but with whom they do not wish to share every movement.  There is of course a more sinister aspect with potential stalking.  Afterall if someone is your friend surely they can pop around to see you at home! 


 Experience with Facebook Places to Date. 

I have not drilled too deeply but some thoughts on Facebook places to date.  

  • Its not as rich as Foursquare but has some nice handy features including the ability to tag others and post photos which should prove to be quite sticky.
  • Similar to when Facebook launched its image editing software is not perfect but it has big enough community to make it impactful. 
  • Unfortately it allows you to tag people who may not there but that will probably be tightened up.
  • There are still the age old issue of allowing check ins to places you are not actually near.
  • Facebook does allow you to link your company page with Places.  I like this.  It can be cumbersome but at least some controls are in place here.  I can imagine this being a big driver for venues with large traffic volumes from venues to coffee shops.
  • I like the ease of taking and uploading photo of places you are in and think people will actually use it.
  • Some people seem to receive push alerts when you check in but appears fairly random to date.  This could get very annoying.


So far I like Facebook Places and can see lots of potential for businesses but really interested to see the next wave of iterations.  I think this will really drive a wave of creative uses of this tool.  Expect to see some nice money making angle from Facebook from deals to sponsorships.

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February 10, 2011 4:52 pm

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