|Checking in on Gowalla|
Players use their mobile phones to check in at various locations to share recommendations with each other, to find friends who happen to be nearby, and to compete with each other.
To get a real sense of how mobile and local technologies can converge for urban folks, read Jeff Jarvis’ Mobile=local.
Using my smartphone’s GPS and maps—or using Google Googles to simply take a picture of, say, a club on the corner—I can ask the web what it knows about that place. Are any of my friends there now? (Foursquare or Gowalla or soon Facebook and Twitter and Google Buzz could tell me.) Do my friends like the place? (Facebook and Yelp have the answer.) Show me pictures and video from inside (that’s just geo-tagged content from Flickr and YouTube). Show me government data on the place (any health violations or arrests? Everyblock has that). What band is playing there tonight? Let me hear them. Let me buy their music. What’s on the menu? What’s the most popular dish? Give me coupons and bargains. OK, now I’ll tell my friends (on Twitter and Facebook) that I’m there and they’ll follow.
Now, that same scenario makes less sense in a small town. We just don’t need that kind of location data. We already know what all the local restaurants are like. There are only four, and we’ve eaten at all of them this week. (Sad, but true.)
Except there is one reason that all that local data makes sense for small towns: tourism. Your visitors don’t know every club and restaurant. They want your recommendations. They’d like to see photos before they ever step foot inside. They don’t know how to tell if that little diner is a wonderful dive, or a hideous pit, without some reviews on UrbanSpoon, etc.
|My rural location-based experience.|
So, even though you may not want to play FourSquare because you’d be the only person in your county (like me), it makes sense to add your local data to many local applications for the convenience of your visitors.
Thank you to Cory Miller for pointing out Jeff’s article, and then asking me to think about the rural implications.
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Becky started Small Biz Survival in 2006 to share rural business and community building stories and ideas with other small town business people. She and her husband have a small cattle ranch and are lifelong entrepreneurs. Becky is an international speaker on small business and rural topics.