Get out of my driveway, social-mobile-location apps

So many apps want to see where you are and find "friends" nearby. This is why almost none of them survive.


Google's location-savvy Village at SXSW 2012

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Sometimes you come across a quote that’s so good, you feel like you should pay the person who spoke it at least a buck or two. Because they have, in essence, served as your bartender or barista, and served you up a delicious concoction that makes you feel a bit better.

Such is the case when I saw Courtney Boyd Meyers, features editor at The Next Web, quoted in the New York Times’ Bits blog about location-oriented social apps at the annual South by Southwest Interactive festival, entering its final stages here in Austin, Tex.

“Right now, it’s awkward because the suggested social connections lack relevance,” she said. “Why am I being notified that a woman across the street also likes Tom’s Shoes on Facebook? So it comes off as an annoying, noisy battery drain.”

That is a whole lot of truth in one little aside. Let’s get unpacking.

There’s social, the part of your life and your brain that navigates connections, knows how deep those connections run, and has a built-in system for sorting and prioritizing certain contacts. If you don’t show up for drinks with one group and choose to watch a Netflix rental with another friend (maybe a spouse), you’ve created a certain algorithm for determining what kinds of situations and activities you prefer with which people. You don’t think about it usually, you just move forward and send notes and live your life.

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