If you haven’t already heard, Facebook announced a new feature called “Places” Wednesday night.
It’s an app you can download to your iPhone or Droid that makes it easy for you to share your location with your “friends”.
Tempting as it may be to be an “early adopter”, I highly recommend that you look and think, and then think again, before you leap.
Do you want everyone you have as “friend” on Facebook to know where you are?
Do you want your Facebook identity to appear on the “Places” page of the venues at which you check-in, even after you’re gone?
Do you want others to know where you spend your time, how often you frequent, what hours you’re there, and who else hangs out at the same places as you ?
Do you want your “friends” to be able to “check-in” for you? (Meaning that they can easily announce that you are in the same place that they are.) In essence, they can write something like “Getting smashed” on their wall. Their check-in will let everyone know that they are at Boobzertown Bar,. If they check-in for you, everyone will know that you’re at Boobzertown Bar too and assume that you’re there with them. No biggie? Guilt by association? I say you might be rolling the dice..
If you’re going to take the plunge, have you tweaked your privacy settings? (There are more than a dozen buttons you have to turn-off if you don’t want them on.)
I’m already checking in on Foursquare, is this any riskier ,you might ask. Do you use your full name there? You certainly don’t have to; in fact, many don’t. (The opposite is true on Facebook.)
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t get the Places app; in fact, I bet that at least one-third of Facebook’s users who have smartphones will. Before you take the plunge, think through a few scenarios and the possible implications.
A social Internet that is accessed via smartphone is like the Wild, Wild West. No one seems to be in charge and there aren’t many rules. You have to protect yourself, even if you’re sure that no one is out to get you and you aren’t doing anything wrong.
Any “live-out-loud” New Yorkers want to comment?
More to follow.