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Events and Location

- March 11, 2010 - 3 Comments

Social Web and Events

Several members of our Cisco Eos team will head off to Austin, Texas for the SXSW Festival. The Interactive portion of this event features leading discussions about digital media trends and business, and we are looking forward to participating in the conversation and learning.

For instance, we are sure you’ve already heard that the buzz at the 2010 SXSW Interactive festival seems to be all about services that allow you to record your current location in the real world using the GPS settings on your mobile phone. Then such services broadcast your location, socially sharing it online. CNET did a nice overview story about the competing services in this space – Foursquare, Gowalla, and now Twitter and Facebook are adding such ‘geolocation’ services. 

What do these services mean for the world of branded entertainment sites? 

Here’s one hypothetical example – you could empower fans of the band Paramore, to ‘check in’ at a concert using their GPS enabled mobile. A fan who attended a show could receive a virtual ‘badge’ on their profile page on the band fan site, showing the fan’s attendance at that concert.

Paramore Shows

Maybe the more shows a fan attended, the more badges they would receive, and then Paramore could award prizes to the fans who attended the most shows on each tour. These geolocation services are a great way to incentivize fans to attend concerts, movies, and other entertainment events.

While that was just a made up use case there, currently Cisco Eos powered sites can enable fans who attend a concert to upload photos to a specific web page for a specific event, like a concert.

If you added a geolocation service into the mix, you could then indeed verify that a specific photo did get taken at the concert, versus being pulled from the internet from some random source. Currently, when you go to a concert, it’s sometimes difficult after the show, even via looking through hundreds of Flickr or Facebook photos, to find the right photos from the right event. If photos are location and event specific, the fan experience can be enhanced. And again, you could also track fan attendance. 

We’ve already heard of a few media companies dipping their toes in the water of geolocation, tying their programming content to brick and mortar locations. For instance, our partner the Travel Channel is teaming up with the location service Gowalla. Gowalla will award badges to fans of the Travel Channel show ‘Food Wars’ when they check in at restaurants featured on the program.  I note that these location services are still in their infancy, for instance, I tried to use Gowalla on my Blackberry Curve 8830, and the service didn’t work – frustrating.

Meanwhile, my friend Tom is such a uber user of Foursquare (read about his overuse here). So Tom participated in a Foursquare game that is a result of the service’s tie up with Bravo TV’s ‘Real Housewives of Orange County’ program. You see here Tom checked in at the Dave and Buster’s – the popular entertainment gaming restaurant, which was featured on one episode of the ‘Housewives’ TV show.

Bravo / Foursquare badge

And SPIN Magazine recently created a real world scavenger hunt for the SXSW Music Conference using Foursquare.

Geolocation services are certainly going to be interesting to watch in 2010 as they develop in the social and digital media space. We’ll watch them closely at SXSW as they get hyped by uber users.

But I don’t think you need necessarily to have a specific new social network like Foursquare or Gowalla to tie into events and venues – I feel ‘gelocation’ is more of an add on feature to existing media and entertainment web sites than a new specific social network you have to join.

Also I’m not so sure I want to broadcast my location, and check in at concerts, restaurants, and other venues just to collect badges and to try to win prizes. As much as I overshare in my tweeting, I don’t always want you to know where I’m at!

It turns out I’m not the only one who feels that way. Our partners at the Entertainment and Technology Center at USC interviewed some students on campus who are a little reluctant when it comes to sharing location – here’s an interesting interview:


Cisco at SXSW Interactive, Film and Music 2010

Panels :

Chuck Fishman on a SXSW Music Panel – ‘Social Networking and Musicians’

Cisco sponsoring :

Cisco Eos team at Music City Presents T2:

Cisco Eos Team at SPIN Loft Sessions:

Skateland Movie Premiere:

Creative ‘Cue with ASCAP and CISCO

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  1. Some of us are understandably reluctant to share our geolocation. We have to be sensible about how much we share and with whom. As we see more applications, related privacy issues will be a hot topic for quite some time, just like it has been with other technologies in the past.

  2. People must be aware of the risk of sharing too much info from themselves via internet and gps.

  3. Thanks Michael - of course - here's a good column written by Melissa Jun Rowley about the dangers: