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Location based social network Foursquare counted their 40 millionth checkin according to a tweet from one of their developers.
Foursquare’s growth rate is also accelerating. According to Pete Cashmore over at Mashable:
The number shows that Foursquare’s growth rate is accelerating: Five weeks ago, the company announced that the total number of checkins had reached 22 million. In short: Foursquare appears to have doubled its checkin rate in just over a month. -Mashable
The internets rumor mill is also a buzz about Facebook’s potential foray into the location based market with their own product. Nobody knows for certain if they will develop their own location check-in product or integrate with Foursqare and Gowalla.
What’s clear is that location based services will be a large part of the social media landscape in the coming months, but how can nonprofits begin to use geotagging to benefit our community? Is this something we should even be spending resources in?
Some of the things we need to think about is the reason why people use and enjoy geotagging. It sounds simple, but behind many of these features is the basic necessity of people needing interactions. Interactions become more involved and meaningful the closer the other person is part of your network. One of the ways that this happens is proximity. Knowing where your network is at any time can be a powerful tool in increasing your perceived connectivity to your network.
But how can we use this psychology to increase the nonprofit community? We need to use geotagging for more than making a Flickr maps of where people are uploading pictures. I would love to hear your ideas but here are some initial thoughts:
- Mobile Volunteering – People have shown that they enjoy showing that they are part of nonprofit campaigns (adding badges, causes etc. to their accounts). Maybe this mentality carries over into the geotagging world where we can show your friends what nonprofit projects you’re involved in. “Hey i’m volunteering at a food bank at X location, come join me”
- Twitter () advocacy – This can be done from either a local or national level. If you have a local issue, show a local representative a visual map of how many people are talking about it on twitter. Sending emails is great but what if you could show a politician a real time map of incoming tweets coming in directly from his district?
- Geogames – Foursqure became popular because of the game features they used, why can’t we do the same? Geotag whenever you attend a rally or event, gain points or karma or whatever your community finds valuable.
- Community mapping – This is something more popular in developing countries but there is no reason why everyone can’t get involved. Use your phone and location to identify problem areas in your community and force government to fix the problems.
What are some of your geotagging ideas?