It seems Brightkite is gaining a community for location based awareness, I’ve posted on this before including a list of geo-loco services, but none of these have really been on my radar as much as Brightkite. I’m sure some of these other services are doing great, maybe it’s just that my social graph has gravitated to Brightkite.
Just to note so far “The Swarm” is my favourite concept in intimate location awareness.
Twitter has the micro-blogging/presence/conversation community, and FriendFeed has the lifestream/watercooler community, so will Brightkite be the geo-loco tool of choice.
It’s main deal is that you can text (email or web or mobile web) to “check in” to a location (just like Groovr and FireEagle)…manually letting others know where you are.
By doing this you can see who else is there, or nearby, or has been there.
So all you have to do is manually tell Brightkite where you are and it will display your peeps who have checked-in to locations closeby.
You can even get your check-ins to change your Twitter location on your profile, and further to this it can auto-tweet your check-in location in your twitter stream.
You can even make Placemarks, which are terms for common check-in places
eg. instead of always texting your work address you can text, “@work”, this will check you in to the location you have entered for your work.
Once you have “checked in” you can upload photo’s and micro-blog to your stream. If you don’t have much of a community at Brightkite, well then your check-in’s and posts can be re-syndicated to your Twitter stream.
There is also an option to hook it up with FireEagle which has a GPS option to auto-post location every so often. Not sure what other plans Brightkite has for GPS or cell tower triangulation.
Fireball is similar but different, it’s a mash up of FireEagle and Twitter.
Once you have checked-in to a location you can blog text and photos, this adds to the “Placestream.” Basically each location has a stream, kind of like using hashtags for Twitter. A place can be anything, a city, state, country, cafe, library, exact address, etc…
Just like your check-ins your posts can also be re-published to your Twitter stream.
Place blogging is not new, check out: Outside.in, Placeblogger, Socialight, Flagr, PlacesToDo, etc…
Slightly similar are the various barcode services that provide information about a place via scanning a barcode.
Put it all together
1. You check-in
2. You see who’s nearby (Around Me)
3. You see a friend is at a location nearby
4. You browse to that placestream and see the activity stream (an archive of content your friends have posted at this location)…it also has a list of visitors and a map.
5. You see texts and photos describing a fun time, so you click on your friends avatar, which takes you to their profile page and send them a private message or nudge them
This is great to see what’s going on and to hook up, I wish it was around when I was a teenager.
You don’t necessarily have to follow these steps to know where your friends are at. Your homepage (What’s happening) has a stream called Me & My Friends. This is your main stream where you see all the latest check-ins and posts from your friends.
And your friends tab will list all your friends telling you their latest check-in location.
Check in - @address,city state
Example: @2911 Walnut St, Denver, CO
Post a note - ! message
Example: ! best coffee in town
Note: photo’s are posted by email
You can also use this email address to blog posts and for checkins.
Message a friend - m username message
Example: m abby where you at?
Then there are SMS or email notifications.
You can get an SMS, email or both for:
- friend request
- direct message
You can get an SMS, email or both for:
This can be further limited to:
- a radius of 4000 metres, 2000 metres, 200 metres, 20 metres
This doesn’t have to apply to all your friends. For each friend you can change the friendship settings for notifications.
eg. you may want check-ins from all your friends SMSd to you, but not from 2 other friends.
Friends and Privacy
The network settings are quite good, when you add a friend, you have the choice to further cement the relationship by checking a box making them a trusted friend…you can edit these controls later.
More from Read/Write Web on this:
“There are also two modes in which you can post updates to Brightkite - public and private. Public mode is ideal when you’re out and about and looking to meet new people and private mode is for when you want to restrict your activities to only being viewed by friends. By default in private mode:
Strangers see your checkins at the city-level, and don’t see your posts
Friends see your checkins and posts at the city-level
Trusted friends see your checkins and posts at full accuracy
However, all those settings are easily editable.”
As mentioned you can edit these settings, at the moment I have:
Check-in (hidden)…I’ve changed this from the default city/suburb
Posts (hidden)…I’ve changed this from the default city/suburb
Strangers (Everyone) won’t see what suburb/city I’ve checked-in to, and they won’t see my posts
- this means my check-ins or posts will not appear in my Twitter stream even if I had the setting on
Reason being is I don’t really want strangers to know where I am located, I probably wouldn’t mind that they saw my posts depending on the nature of them.
If I set “Everyone” posts to city/suburb these would appear at Twitter (where a whole lot of other strangers can also see them).
Settings I would consider changing depending at the time:
EVERYONE - change posts to city/suburb (so they can appear on Twitter)
FRIENDS - change posts to exact and change check-ins to exact
Or maybe if I’m feeling in a general type of mood, I’d just switch on to public mode.
I really don’t know why “The Swarm” hasn’t taken off, this blows away all geo-loco services.
Check out their blog for all the lastest features.