There’s a new type of social networking site emerging – and it isn’t technically a website at all! I’m talking about social-local-mobile networks (SoLoMo), a new type of social app designed for social interactions on the go. These new social apps make heavy use of geolocation and check in technology to connect with users in close proximity to you. The premise with these social networks is that we have lots in common with people who frequent the same local spots we do, and by simply signing in we can meet people with the same interests as us.
Social-local-mobile network Roamz is a great example of these new types of networks. Roamz allows users to check in at favorite places, find local events, and hear what the true locals have to say about their city. The premise behind Roamz is that local community members know their own city best, so visitors can log on to Roamz and simply see what other users on the social network recommend. Check-in based social networks like Roamz or Foursquare provide a fun way to learn about social hotspots in your town. And given mobile internet usage is poised to overtake desktop Internet usage by 2014, it seems these emerging social networks are onto something.
Two other great SoLoMo networks are Highlight and Ban.jo. Both social apps operate with similar functionality: users turn the app on, and it notifies them when they’re near other friends with the app, or to browse who else with the app is in nearby local venues. These new social networks provide a great way to meet people with common interests you might have walked right by without knowing they shared your hobby for antique ships in bottles. The point is, the social-local-mobile networks have the ability to bring total strangers together in unprecedented ways. Highlight is only for iOS while Ban.jo can be found on both iOS and Android app stores.
One problem with these new mobile social networks is the inherent lack of privacy that comes with constantly displaying your location and check ins. This makes it easy for someone to stalk your behaviors, and even wait for you at places you’re known to frequent. Another problem is that by checking in away from your house, you signal to burglars that you’re not home and your house is free for robbing. While the possibilities of new SoLoMo social networks are exciting, users need to remember to not overshare, and always be mindful to the information they publicly share online.