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First//Look: BrightKite

Picture 3.pngIn a world of shiny new things, BrightKite is the current top of the list. Beta invites are hard to get and new ones go quickly. So what is BrightKite all about? BrightKite is a social network that hinges on one key differentiating factor. It knows where you are. Users of the site update their locations (manually for now, but I could see GPS updates in the future) and share information with friends as well as other people in the same location.

The content on the site includes Twitter-esque messages about where you are/what you're doing and photography. One very limiting factor at this point is that BrightKite doesn't integrate with the content users are already creating on sites like Twitter and Flickr. BrightKite will push your updates to Twitter, and has a cool way of co-updating your Twitter location, but it still means that you have to create content twice. That's not going to happen in large numbers.

The idea of social, location-based networks aim to close the gap on contextual relevancy that has resulted in irrelevant information overload. I have found that proximity adds context and makes things more relevant to me. This is BrightKite's beta so I'm really looking forward to seeing how they evolve this and bring out more mobile consumption elements (iPhone app, BlackBerry app, proximity alerts, etc.). Advertisers will undoubtedly be perking up at the targeting ability that location brings. That's for another post. If you're on BrightKite make sure you add me.


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Key takeaways:


  • Location-based social networks are growing in number and will be standard in the near future
  • Location is manually updated, but will move to real-time, GPS-based updates when the technology catches up
  • BrightKite has good privacy filters in place which is crucial for the promise of this level of off-line connectedness
  • BrightKite does a good job of pushing its content out, but needs to do a better job of pulling it in
  • Social media overlap (creating the same content more than once) is a growing problem and needs to be planned before sites get to launch stage
  • Location-based ad targeting is a way to monetize this very quickly, but has to be in balance and aim to add value (like if I am standing in line at Wendy's it could offer me an immediate coupon)
  • Mobile plays a large part in the success of this network and will for all social networks in the near-term
  • Would love more consumption options on the phone (not just publishing) to get the most benefit from the service

If you know of a new service that you think I should take a look at drop me an email or leave a comment.


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