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Location based services, geolocation, local check in services – the punditry wisdom is these are here to stay and they hold the promise of something big. Color me skeptical. I am still waiting to see how these are really going to translate to something meaningful. The idea of knowing where people eat or shop does not fascinate me unless I need to find a place to eat or shop. I do not want to be the Mayor of Dunkin Donuts. Badges – I can live without them. As they stand location based social networking sites such as Foursquare, Gowalla or Yelp don’t do it for me.

Image courtesy of Business Insider

Having said that, I should say that I see the potential – all the data being collected can be a marketing treasure trove and it will be great to see how a B2C social media campaign capitalizes on it. Universities using Foursquare for new student orientation seemed like a great idea.

Given that I am in a waiting for Godot state of mind, the recent news story about Foursquare caught my attention. They decided to use some of that data and came up with a list of the twenty rudest cities in the world. Are you ready for this?

Chart courtesy of Foursquare

There is an interesting explanation of how the data was analyzed which also mentions that the level of rudeness was gauged by the swear words used by Foursquare users. I understand Foursquare’s decision to go with an intriguing list to work as link bait but I must say that I find this a less than satisfactory demo of its latent power. Generalizing city wide rudeness based on the limited demographic that are Foursquare users is, shall we say, a stretch? But the good news is that there is all this data and now there are easier ways to access and analyze and package the information and this will make it possible to have targeted social media marketing campaigns.

What do you think of the potential of location based services and of the geolocation buzz? If you have seen or participated in a successful campaign based on a location based services, it will be great to hear from you.

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