Getting a tenuous grip on mobile and social ties

August 18, 2010 by Dave Haynes

My ridiculously smart Preset colleague David Weinfeld spends a lot of time watching where consumer engagement is going and how digital media fits in – not just digital signs, but the whole shootin’ match.

He can give hours of useful discourse on social and mobile and how it all stitches together. I can rattle off names and general thoughts, and then I am done. It moves too fast.

A good example of the challenge of just keeping up is the list of location-based offers out there that allow mobile users to let friends,  and people who want to sell them stuff, know where they are: Shopkick, Foursquare, Gowalla, MyTown, Brightkite, Whrrl, Loopt, WeReward, TopGuest, Hot Potato, SCVNGR, AroundMe, Poynt, Geodelic and probably more.

There was much hoo-hah yesterday online about the launch of ShopKick, and how THIS was THE thing – the mobile app that changes how people shop.

But that was, like, sooo Tuesday.

Today we have a new service called ShopAlerts, which ReadWriteWeb suggests is FourSquare for the Real World.

Instead of downloaded mobile apps that require people users to spark up and check-in (something only  four per cent of mobile users do), this is an opt-in service that lets retailers and brands send location-triggered mobile text messages to consumers who wander into a “geo-fenced” zone. Cell towers triangulate your location and that location triggers messages.

A lot of people used text messaging regularly and you don’t need expensive phones and punitive data plans to have this run.

I like this because it is more sensible and realistic, and non-proprietary. Plus you opt-in. It ain’t spam.

Weinfeld could give go on at length about how all this ties in to digital signage, and I’ve no doubt those ties are there. I am writing about this because the ReadWriteWeb post does a good job of explaining geo-fencing and the basics of this stuff. It may not touch directly what we all do, but it is useful and important to understand it, at least.

I also like the video, which explains the concept in straight-forward terms (below)

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