Twitter will soon have a location based functionality. Here's my take.
This is the age of T.M.I. (too much information). With information overload, LBS (location based services) will be only used in the long run when they provide greater utility than interruption. To be frank, I don't care where you are or who is near me, 90% of the time. The exception is at casual events like sports game and conferences, where half the fun is running into people.
The Business SideHowever, there are two HUGE components of the LBS game that have gone largely ignored in the coverage of this story: advertising and business intel.
LBS provides another layer for ad targeting. It will be a while before systems are optimized to make these inputs operation, viable and a sound investment, but I'm confident we will see early solutions soon.
The third layer, business intelligence, is a game-changer. One of the toughest challenges marketers face in monitoring the conversation online, is the inability to properly segment the conversation by age, gender, author ID, sentiment and location. Location is a core component to marketers of all shapes and sizes. Location data overlays can become revenue generators for anyone who owns them, particularly in the social intel space.
Consider: if Best Buy (not a client) sees a spike in negativity, but is able to identify that most of it is coming from 3 general areas, they can address issues in those individual locations. If the Hyatt (not a client) identifies complements about room amenities, and can narrow them all to one location, they can reward the staff and guests. If the NY Times can identify that people are more likely to retweet their content while in transit, they can adjust their comms strategy accordingly. Or if CNN were able to identify that the iReporter was truly on the scene, they could prevent false reports during disasters (kudos to John Czwartacki aka @cz for sharing this goodie from Jeff Jarvis).
LBS data will soon be a commodity, one that is traded and purchased by researchers, vendors and marketers.
This is not a pipe dream. Check out the tweet from Radian6's Marcel LeBrun below.