The good and bad about Foursquare, GoWalla - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

The good and bad about Foursquare, GoWalla

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -  On a nice day, it's easy to find all of working Charlotte outside!  Many urban areas around the U.S. are the same.  Whether Charlotte, Boone, or New York city, you will find local businesses and parks offer places to sit and enjoy the sun while you snack, catch up on your emails, or conduct a business meeting. 

Now, there's a new way to meet up physically by using cyberspace.  It's called check in location software.   

There are some great meet up or check in apps out there, that if used correctly, can enhance your network of friends and business associates and can keep you and your kids safe and entertained! 

There is a fun side and a dark side. 

FUN SIDE!

F:  FIND BUSINESS CONTACTS, FRIENDS & FAMILY - Check in and see other people you know, or want to know, at the location

U:  UNDERSTAND YOUR OPTIONS:  Search to find the nearest place to meet.  You can also use these services with your kids or friends for impromptu treasure hunts or to look at far away places around the globe.

N:  NETWORK LOCATIONS:  You can actually use this as a safety tool!  You can keep tabs on your older kids without making them phone in – a balance of freedom and teaching them responsibility.

THE DARK SIDE:

D:  DON'T TALK TO STRANGERS!  You may be broadcasting your location to strangers.

A:  ALWAYS CHECK YOUR PRIVACY SETTINGS FIRST BEFORE BROADCASTING.  Make sure you check your social networking site settings first.  Your kids may be broadcasting beyond you and their circle of friends.

R:  REMEMBER NOT TO BROADCAST TOO MUCH INFORMATION.  You don't want a stranger to know enough about you to trick you or your kids into thinking you know them.

K:  KNOW WHO IS IN YOUR NETWORK AND YOUR KIDS NETWORK OF FRIENDS

We're not just talking about strangers.  Have you friended your boss?  If you are checking in at pubs and nightclubs all night and broadcasting on Twitter and Facebook, that might not be the image you want to portray.

HOW TO USE IT FOR FUN & SAFETY WITH KIDS:

  1. You can use it as your virtual travel guide or for a mini scavenger hunt by having the kids use the service via the phone to pinpoint nearby or even far away points of interest.
  2. On services like Gowalla, you can also "drop off"  or "pick up" virtual items at different locations.
  3. Set up checkpoints for your kids and their friends and make sure they only broadcast to the trusted circle.

WEB RESOURCES:

Gowalla Service:  www.GoWalla.com

FourSquare Service:  www.FourSquare.com

Want to try some newcomers to cyber meetups?  Try Loopt at www.loopt.com or Brightkite at http://brightkite.com/

Interested in Using Foursquare, Google Maps, Yelp and GoWalla together?  Try FourWhere:  http://www.fourwhere.com/

Wondering What the Top 10 Check In Sites are?  See Gowalla's at Mashable.com:

http://mashable.com/2010/06/26/top-10-checkins-gowalla/

Want to learn more about our word of the week:  "Geocaching" ?

Try Geocaching locally by using GoWalla, Foursquare or by visiting North Carolina's US National Whitewater Center at:  http://www.usnwc.org/ You can also see global options at www.geocaching.com .

 

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