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August 19 2010

Facebook Places: 8 Things to Think About

Facebook Places is coming to a Facebook near you. What that means for you and potentially your social change organization.
Facebook Places: 8 Things to Think About

Coming to a Facebook near you.

1. Why it’s important: Let’s face it – it’s cool to reference Foursquare and Badges and Mayors and such, but in reality, there are very few hard-core Foursquare users. There are, however, a lot of hard-core Facebook users. Like, millions. So, what Facebook does, we all do, right? Don’t lie to yourself. You know it’s true. You’re going to be “checking-in” before you know it.

2. “Checking-in” means going to a bar (or any location) and clicking a button on Facebook and saying, “I’m here!” which will then show in your news feed with a link to the location on a map and a list of what friends checked-in at this location before you and presumably reviews and groupons and related items and all things marketing. (So, how quickly will businesses start offering discounts for checking-in? When we can get free coffee or beer, we might start.)

3. When we hear the word "Mayor" from Foursquare it makes us think of McDonald’s cheeseburgers.

4. Social change groups and checking-in possibilities? Check-in for lobby day, a house party, a candidate forum, location of a clean-up work party, a protest, a screening of an enviro movie, etc.

Also, this could be a really easy way to get people to post something about their volunteer work with you. Then all of their friends who were hanging out at the fountain in the park can come make phone calls instead of sitting around waiting for people to find them. You can ask everyone at your phonebank to check-in when they arrive. Is there a way to aggregate these and report on them to make a volunteer leader board? Who’s going to be the mayor of the State Capitol building next session? (Mmm, cheeseburgers.)

5. Facebook Places feature is not available everywhere yet, but most likely will be in a couple of days.

6. Go to your privacy settings right now and don’t let friends “tag you” unless you want them to. Also, by default, Places will share your check-ins with applications used by your friends. Read Write Web tells you how to turn that off.

7. “Tag you” means this: Your friends go to a strip club. They “check-in” via Facebook Places, and then see you there and “tag you” as being there. Then, it shows up in your news feed that you are at a strip club. You can stop this by doing # 6. Or lay off the strip clubs.

8. To play you need to have a smartphone with either the Facebook app (starting with the iPhone today) or with a web browser so you can access http://touch.facebook.com.

--with Chris McCullough and Eric Magnuson


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