What’s your mobile location strategy? Twitter and the GPSURL

November 10, 2009

in general, twitter

Yesterday @JonHusband (Wirearchy) sent me a NYTimes link on “Refining the Twitter Explosion”. I always appreciate links like this. They are often good pointers and make me think harder about their importance. In a response to Jon I found myself writing more than expected and later thought I’d share my general response below.

I don’t think enough is really being written about this (Twitter and Geo Tweets). For the first time you will be able to easily associate some location information with a URL. For a tweet which is really an advert to the world you can now leave them in virtual space. When people get this it will become many times more powerful.

At eComm we saw Layar and they produced a demo which labeled pictures and 3D experiences and made available live via your camera phone. I think this may combine nicely with Twitter. We will want views that relate to those I follow… what have they said about this place. (Lists will make GPS data permissions even more effective). Who’s in the area etc.

In contrast to the mobile phone number and the complex things that put mobile phones on maps the Twitter model of being able to view slices of different data is much more compelling. While we may share some element of precisely where we are more importantly we can see quickly markers that others want us to see and some that will become more persistent overtime. Most important of all… rather than being flooded with photo’s we will have lots of “text” hints to view and perhaps filter more easily. I’m sure some will become classic location markers.

For fun… In India they seldom had maps and it remains the norm to get close to a place and then keep asking where it is… till you get there. As a system it works. I can imagine the same thing working re twitter and tweets. I also think some of these tweets will become valuable escalation points. Eg go to voice, video, to some other service. Either party may pay for this and a lot of it will be free too just as it is now in life.

I don’t even think we have begun to really understand the implications. Businesses are even further behind. How many have a “mobile location” strategy? Few have tweet strategies that are more than window dressing. I think we’re potentially all under estimating the disruptive nature of going from a numbers world to one of URL’s where each one is a potential different exchange. Information routing will change. This will change how businesses are forced to respond too.

Having come back from a half day at Singularity University yesterday it was easy to put my scenario hat back on. I believe that turning on GeoTweets is the type of discontinuity that may turn out to be as big as the web itself. Businesses have a maximum of 3 to 5 years to get this into their heads before other new entrants will upset them.

Jon seemed to concur with me when he responded later with “high utility, little investment of effort”.

That’s key. When anyone can associate or place an object in virtual space that is geo-located for “nothing” then everything changes. Don’t believe me then just think about what they will write over time on your street.

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