Local trend meets location awareness – personalized geo-located ecosystems

2010 January 22

2010 was defined by trend trackers as the year of the  local. Faith Popcorn,  coined 2010 as the year of Go LoCo.

She explains what she calls local cocooning:

“as a world turned upside down drives us inward.” She explained: “Rejecting a war in Afghanistan we don’t understand, and welfare for Wall Street we can’t accept, we’ll be living like our 19th- and early-20th-century forbearers: Focusing on our neighborhoods and communities, supporting those who support us. We’re tightening up, pulling in, reducing our radius.”

This trend is part of the search for a better, simpler, cleaner life. The fear, anxiety and uncertainty of the financial crisis, recession,disillusionment from existing institutions and  growing personal frustration, made people look for new points of balance and seek to go back to basics and the familiar.

The new zeitgeist combines the craving for something that suits us personally with what fuels trust – homeliness and locality are such anchor points, where we will prefer to be surrounded by people, services and institutions we trust, that make us feel comfortable, where we can share ideas, conduct transparent conversations, trust decisions and actions or hear about what interests us now in our  locality from trusted friends.

The location based mobile niche – smart-phones and geo-location based apps are the technological platforms for real time location based context awareness. Where are you right now? What are you doing? What’s it like here? What else is there near me? Who else is here to hang out with?What fun awaits us here….It’s ubiquitous, already implemented in many devices and  creates the right leverage for combining local with local awareness based social applications to answer real time life style and social needs. It is a direct manifestation of the need to cocoon,  combined with the need to cuddle with people you know or trust physically in your location or through your social sphere.

This is where, on our turf,  our private social sphere becomes location aware social media for marketers to offer a whole new array of geo and social based offerings.

Google offers a location aware search of  Near Me Now , a very relevant searchability option and friend alert  that obviously immediately becomes a localad platform;

Twitter offers location aware apps that attach locations to tweets, offering trusted references, recommendations and social interactions.

A more sophisticated new dimension of location based games, promotional activities and fun experiences, come from companies like  Foursquare  and Gowalla  that leverage our real time whereabouts and enhance the value of places and what they offer. They build teasers, attraction incentives, social based experiences,  games  and even social media rewards in places where you hang out with your friends in your social sphere.  Jennifer Van Grove  has a  fascinating analysis of the new ways in which Foursquare is creating a new local interaction experience, inventing new business models, revenue streams, incentive programs and local advertising and marketing campaigns.

It is a  new user centered ad hoc ecosystem that exploits to the fullest my location, social connectivity, digital mobility, searchability – offering me an intuitive real time geo platform for hanging out, having fun, hearing first hand what sucks, playing location based social games through my social platform, being able to twitter about it with people who not only share with me my affinities and worldviews, but my whereabouts as well. Intricate luring webs and alternative currencies schemes that target a new eco system around me – here and now.

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