You’ve probably heard the buzz for the last few weeks, and now it’s official – Twitter now supports geotagging your tweets. What exactly does this mean?
From Twitter Support:
Twitter’s Geotagging feature allows users who opt-in to the service to selectively Geotag their tweets with their exact location and provide more context to users about their surroundings. This great new functionality allows you to join into a local conversation and annotate the world around you as you travel from one place to another.
So the next time you’re enjoying the food at a certain restaurant, you can let your followers (or anyone, really) know exactly where you’re dining. Or if you’re at a terrible concert – same thing. The geotagging feature will post your exact location with your tweets, allowing you to add additional location-based context to your tweets and connect with other users at a local level.
Sounds kinda scary, doesn’t it? Unfortunately for the more private users, this feature is something that most popular social network sites are considering and many are already adopting. The ever-growing Foursquare, a geolocation-based game, builds its entire premise on the fact that you will share your location with your friends.
Twitter’s Geotagging Is Opt-in
There are a couple things that Twitter has committed to that should put you at ease, at least temporarily. First, geotagging is an opt-in feature and you must manually enable it before any applications can geotag your tweets. (To enable, click the “Enable geotagging” button on your Twitter Settings page).
Second, Twitter explicitly states “We require application developers to be upfront and obvious about when they are Geotagging an update”. If you use an application that posts your location without properly notifying you, you should contact Twitter immediately.
This Is Just The Beginning
Whether this feature explodes in popularity or not (my guess is that it will), this is only a sign of bigger things to come. Now that Foursquare has shown that people enjoy playing location-based games, companies like Facebook and Twitter are also eager to enter the geotagging market.
The number one concern in all of this is privacy. We’ve seen several privacy disasters in Facebook’s history, so unless you carefully manage your personal information it could put you in a precarious situation. Twitter already warns that even if you delete your location information after its been posted, it by no means is guaranteed to be removed from their partner sites (read: sites who clone and repost tweets).
As for me? I’ll give it a try, but I’d be much more enthusiastic if you were able to customize the level of accuracy to your location. I would feel more comfortable posting geotagged tweets if it gave my location within a mile or two, rather than to the accuracy of my mobile phone’s GPS. This service is brand new though, so maybe that’s something we will see in its future.
How do you feel about geotagging your social updates? Are you excited or afraid to let your friends (and stalkers) know where you’re at? Share it with us in the comments.