Saturday, February 16, 2008

Mobile Social Networking - Yes, No, I Don't Know

Caroline McCarthy of CNet News has written an article, "The mobile social: Not ready for prime time?" In it she gives an explanation of the new developments and possiblities in mobile social networking.

"Recent announcements and developments in the mobile media world have indicated that location-based services are going to be the game-changer. These applications, using GPS technology or cell tower triangulation, are being talked about as the move that will push mobile social networking forward--and with good reason. Crafted correctly, a location-aware mobile service could not only tell you which of your friends are nearby, but also inform you of the nearest place where you could grab a slice of pizza (and whether your neighbors recommend it)--as well as serve up advertisements that give "hyperlocal" a whole new meaning."

Two things that strike me about this technology are, first, how large the gap is becoming between those who are fully plugged into current technology and gadgets, and those who aren't. While certainly there is a full spectrum between those sporting the latest high tech gadgets, and those who don't even want to use a cell phone; it does seem like people living at polar ends of this spectrum are starting to live in dramatically different worlds.

Second, some of these technologies and gadgets seem to indicate that we are becoming a bit too plugged in. Certainly I'm not opposed to tech development, and realize not all gadgets are for everyone. However, being constantly monitored by GPS I find a little disturbing. Also, regularly monitoring my buddy's location via GPS sounds an awful lot like stalking. GPS in a vehicle makes sense, but regular personal monitoring seems like a bit much. McCarthy notes in her article that one of the hang ups with this technology is the concerns people have with privacy.

"There's a bigger issue, though. Beyond any technological challenges, a sizable portion of the population might not like the idea that their locations could be broadcast to others--or logged by their cell phone providers. "There are big privacy concerns," Poisson said. "Privacy is a huge concern when it comes to location-based services, especially when it comes to mobile devices. Any time that the end user doesn't have control over who's knowing where they are, whether it's another human being that they know or don't know, or a company that's collecting that data on an automatic basis, that starts to become problematic."

While I'm not prepared to sign up for this service, Caroline McCarthy's article is an interesting read on the development and issues surrounding mobile social networking...

The mobile social: Not ready for prime time?

1 comment:

mobilist said...

Mobile social networking is on the rise, but it's a long way from reaching its full potential. I have gone through a couple of mobile social networks out there and they are nowhere near my expectations. So I decided to list down a few scenarios.