New numbers from south of the border show that people are checking in more than ever before. Whether it's Facebook Places, Gowalla or Foursquare, comScore recently revealed that 17.6 per cent of smart phone owners in the U.S. use location-based services. However, there's still one group that is checking out of checking in: women.
In an eMarketer study that analyzed location-based users from Canada, Germany, Japan, the UK, and the US, they found that 77 per cent of women are freaked out about using tools such as Foursquare. This particular report claims that stalking is the reason for opting out, but aside from that worry many women just aren't all that interested in checking in. Sure, there are a few retailers offering up great deals if you do broadcast your location, but somehow that's just not enough.
While reports and surveys that reflect why women aren't yet hooked on the Foursquares of the world are few and far between, judging from my use of these services - and from what my circle of friends says - I just don't want you to know where I am.
As an avid social media user, I'm sitting in my Foursquare account right now looking at more than 130 friend requests. I'm usually generous and open on my online networks, with friends and strangers alike, but I haven't been bitten by the location bug. While some argue that if you're already sharing details of your life online, sharing your whereabouts is the natural next step. I would strongly disagree. While I might share a photo of my meal or a view from a tall building, there is still that element of the unknown. Without revealing exactly where I am, I still maintain a little bit of privacy that makes me feel safe.
Aside from that, simply sharing something like your co-ordinates feels kind of lame. I prefer to craft a tweet, post or Instagram pic, with my own words or images. I feel like "where" is much less important a thing to share than "what," "why" or "how."
Who knows. Facebook has made us feel all warm and fuzzy about sharing personal details such as birthdays, interests and the odd baby pic; maybe location-based services will eventually do the same. Meanwhile, I will watch clever social media campaigns that actually succeed in getting audiences to check in and relish that little bit of privacy I have left. Until then, I'll happily wander my hometown and places beyond without checking in with anyone, except maybe with my mom.