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I’m a fan of social media, both from a personal and business perspective but for me, Foursquare was a step too far.

For starters, I don’t have an iPhone® (or smartphone) but, even if I did, I found the thought of telling everyone my exact location a bit unnerving. I have some really creepy friends that I like to keep firmly in the virtual. Who wants some random ‘friend’ turning up at your local bakery when you’re busy munching on a cheesymite swirl?

And now Facebook Places has come along. Yawn.

What is Foursquare?

For the uninitiated (hello, mum!), Foursquare is a location-based, check-in service that allows users to share locations and discover cool new places by following the check-ins of other chums on their network. It’s real time so if you see someone is in a local pub you can quickly nip in and join them for a pint (or schooner).

It offers businesses a nice way of incentivising visits by offering coupons and special prizes for Mayors. (Users who have visited the location most frequently get to hold the Mayor crown.)

What is Facebook Places?

Facebook Places doesn’t yet have all the features of Foursquare (most recent visitors, frequency of visit, visitor tips, etc) but of course it soon will.  Add to that the fact that it’s much easier to introduce a new service to your existing network on Facebook than it is to try and make them register and use something elsewhere and it’s pretty clear. Foursquare is doomed.

Rather unnervingly, Facebook Places is open to your entire network of friends (unless you change your settings) and not only can you share your location but you can tag other people’s locations if you are with them or happen to see them. Example: Your friend is taking a ‘mental health day’ at the local beach. You tag them. Boss sees tag on Facebook. End of career. End of friendship.  So it’s a good idea to check your privacy settings before you start using the application.

I don’t think I’ll be a convert but, hey, I said that about Twitter and Flickr and Delicious and Stumbleupon and Plaxo and… you get the idea.

See you around, but not if I see you first.

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