Facebook Places, How Open Are You?

Facebook Places, How Open Are You?

Last week Facebook upped the ante on location based social networking with Facebook “Places.” “Places” provides an opportunity to for you to share where you are with your Facebook friends.  It’s been less than a week since the launch of this new, fancy tool and after a bit of confusion, like it not working in all cities including LA at launch, friends are starting to share activity. Here’s some tips and thoughts as you do.

  1. You will need the Facebook app for iPhone. Sorry Android and Blackberry users, apps are on the way.
  2. You can check in on the newsfeed pages, look for the balloon icon in the upper right, or go to the main screen and the look for the new “Places” icon.
  3. Depending on how you manage your Facebook friends, for example some use it exclusively for friends and family while others use it as a business outreach tool, it’s important to know that when you share where you are it shares with your entire friend list. They don’t have to be using “Places,” they can just click “Places” from their device and see where you are. This differs from Foursquare in that most users who have set up Foursquare know that they are sharing their location with their friends and, if you’re like me, have been a little more aware of accepting friend requests. Also, Foursquare allows you to just check in without telling anyone or customize who you want to know. “Places” does not.
  4. You can also tag friends who are with you. This is interesting and has some privacy ramifications. For instance, what if your friend isn’t as open as you about sharing or they might have told someone they were somewhere else and then pop up with you?  There’s also no verification from those you’re tagging to confirm. That may have changed but I did it twice last week and it just showed up in my friend’s feed. Read more about how privacy concerns are involved with this.

That said, “Places” is fun if you’re already using tools like Foursquare and are in the habit of telling your Facebook friends via status updates that you are at “X.” Plus it’s kinda neat to check in to “Places” and see who might be at the restaurant, concert or event you’re at.

From my perspective, I’m leaning toward primarily using Foursquare and will also add in the mix “Places” for opportunities that are appropriate and when I don’t mind sharing with my entire Facebook friend list. One thing you won’t see me doing is checking in to my house…that’s private.

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