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Curiosity doesn’t always kill the cat

Milly Diaz
Milly Diaz
Associate Director of Social Media
6 April 2010

gowalla

I am quite a nut about protecting my privacy on the ‘internets’ but boy do I love ‘playing’ Foursquare and Gowalla (yes, I am active on both).

I finally read something this weekend that helped me make sense of the incompatibility of the two things. Media journalist Jemima Kiss writes,

“It’s safe to assume that most of the few hundred thousand people populating these tools are still curious geeks who are, in the main, aware of the implications of sharing their location and inhabit the sheltered world of the early adopter.”

A privacy-phile like me feels A-OK in the Gowalla/Foursquare worlds because to this point I’m certain I’ve ‘played’ safe, which is quite easy, in my opinion. Plus, living in London, I’ve accepted that my ‘privacy’ has been thrown out the window when I’m out in ‘public’ as CCTV cameras capture my every move. Might as well have fun with it!

Anyway, to me the key is only check-in/add public places to the location-based platforms. I think anyone who adds private residences to either service is making a huge mistake. Would you broadcast your personal home address on Twitter or Facebook? Most people wouldn’t so why do it on Gowalla/Facebook. And, how lame would it be to be the mayor of your own home? That’s implied, isn’t it? Further, you wouldn’t like it if your ‘friends’ publicly posted your home address so why would it be ok for you to do so.

Check-ins aren’t automatically registered by either service, so the power is in your hands to do so intelligently.

However, as Kiss also points out, I’ve been playing in the comfort of a sheltered early adopter world, which makes me realize I could be a little more careful. I’ve happily ‘added’ friends of friends who I don’t know to well to my friend lists on both services. This is a good reminder that I need to be as discerning as I am on Facebook when adding to my ‘friend’ list.

Don’t miss out on the fun! Play safe and join us curious geek cats on Gowalla and/or Foursquare. It’s simple to stay safe and have a killer time in the space.

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