co Has The Time For Location-Based Social Networking Arrived? |

I don’t know that I buy the argument that location-based social networking is still a small group. That is, in the sense that they shouldn’t be marketed to.

(Source) So the question becomes, how much of your time and money should be spent marketing to this group? Parrish says very little.

I disagree. Location-based social networking is still in its infancy and hasn’t caught on yet, but it’s just a matter of time before it does. And when it does, look out!

Twitter and Facebook are really precursors to the location-based social networking idea. Especially Twitter.

Facebook has the set up. You can network with other users in your geographic location. Facebook has the local groups you can join.

While Twitter doesn’t have local groups you can join, there are search tools that allow you to search for other Twitter users in your geographic area. And you can establish or join a Meetup group of Twitter users in your local area and network offline as well as online. Plus, Craigslist has its own version of local networking too.

But these examples do not really reflect the reality of location-based social networking. Forrester recommends holding off until there is a proven market, based on the data that the number of users is still small. The above-quoted article also mentions Foursquare, one of the more popular location-based social networks, and does so in not so much of a flattering way.

My take is this: If your customers are there then you should be there. Whether it is Foursquare or one of the other location-based social networks emerging. ChannelWeb highlights eight of them. Just as FYI, here they are a nutshell:

  • Brightkite
  • Citysense
  • GyPSii
  • MobiLuck
  • Loopt
  • Plazes
  • Whrrl
  • iPling

I think the time to start your location-based social networking is now. While this will get better in time and the tools will become more sophisticated and scalable, I wouldn’t wait until it is perfected. You can network with others in your area right now – if you meet them in the right places and through the right channels.