As the social web evolves, so do we. Max Gladwell will now incorporate geolocation as a fundamental part of its brand, coverage, and M.O.
The geolocation trend is simply too big to be a mere topic or category. The more we consider its implications for social media and green living—its implications on how we live—the more we realize that geolocation merits a deeper integration with the Max Gladwell brand. It is now the proverbial third leg of the Max Gladwell stool: Social Media, Geolocation, and Green Living.
Location-based technologies put everything into geographic context. This context leads to greater relevance, value, and action. After all, our first principle of social media is to Be a Beacon. Physical location adds a very literal layer to this marketing approach. Whether it’s commerce, social networking, activism, politics, entrepreneurship, or recreation, location adds an vital new dimension.
Mathew Honan of Wired Magazine describes it succinctly:
Simply put, location changes everything. This one input—our coordinates—has the potential to change all the outputs. Where we shop, who we talk to, what we read, what we search for, where we go—they all change once we merge location and the Web.
Our first geo-driven trend post was titled Welcome to the New and Improved Matrix. It was written in March of last year, and there were two primary points. First, the state of being “offline” has become increasingly rare because we are now perpetually connected through WiFi and 3G/4G. Second, the Web and physical world are merging in a Matrix-like fashion. Much of this has to do with mobile devices and smartphone technology, which is transforming the World Wide Web into the Local Narrow Web. In that post, Twitter signaled its push for geolocation:
“When [Twitter CEO Evan Williams was] asked about possible future features for Twitter, he reportedly said that one of the things being considered is an extension that lets people know what’s happening in their immediate vicinity. That would basically mean that Twitter could actively ping users about local events that are going on in their neighborhood, in real-time, based on the location they’ve indicated.”
This is currently being realized through the debut of Twitter’s geolocation API, it’s acquisition of GeoAPI, and the introduction of Local Trends. There is clearly much more to come on this from Twitter and its developer community.
As we’ve speculated, most any company can integrate geolocation strategies just as they can integrate social media or sustainability strategies. In many cases, these decisions are business-changing and drill down to a company’s DNA. It can change how we market and do business. Broadly speaking, geolocation technologies are world-changing, and this is what drives the nature of our coverage.
While the social media component of geolocation is fairly obvious given the companies who are leading the trend, the relevance for green living is more implied, and we think this will evolve quite naturally. There is tremendous potential in the smart grid space to integrate both location and social media. The “shop, buy, and eat local” movements are fundamental to sustainability, and new technologies to support these efforts can only accelerate them. Greenopia, GenGreenLife, and 3rd Whale are pioneering geolocation in the green space. Likewise, geolocation applications can help address the dubious practice of localwashing.
We’re currently running a poll about which geolocation applications you are currently using (upper left column). If you don’t see it, check our poll archive. We’ve also added a dedicated link section to our blogroll (right column). There you’ll find two new blogs dedicated to covering the this space: LocationMeme and CheckinBlog. Both focus on the social element of geolocation, which is exemplified through Brightkite, FourSquare, Gowalla, Loopt, and many others. These blogs will certainly to have plenty of material.
We look forward to exploring this new frontier in technology, anthropology, entrepreneurship, and marketing. In the meantime, the following is a list of stories that has influenced our thinking about geolocation over the past few months. These are also a great way to get up to speed on this quickly evolving trend:
If you’re using geolocation for fun, business, or as part of an entrepreneurial venture, let us know in the comments.