It seems like every social media app these days requests a location from you. From Facebook to Twitter, they all want to know exactly where you are as you go through your day. It seems like this trend may be evolving to another level.
Users aren’t as excited to share their exact locations with their entire networks as companies initially thought. While we are more tied into social networks than ever before, people still want to retain some semblance of privacy. With that realization, companies are moving toward ambient location sharing. With this pivot, you will only be able to see friends in your network when you are in close proximity. This should be a smart step for these types of apps. It keeps users privacy intact while making the interactions better since you can only see people who are close enough for you to actually interact with. There is no real value in seeing where your friend is two cities away because you cannot have a interaction with them. Broadcasting location for the sake of it is a waste of resources.
Apps like Foursquare are recognizing this subtle but important difference. As a pioneer in the location sharing boom with its check-in functionality, Foursquare saw the winds of change and has started an app called Swarm. With this app, you will be able to check to see who in your network is close to you and then also use the app to find interesting activities nearby. To me, this seems a lot more useful than just the standard check-in. Swarm will integrate itself more into your social pattern and enable more significant interactions. It should be interesting to see if people are drawn to this more organic method of interaction.