If you read pvponline.com (a great webcomic, by the way), you’ll recall a story line where a character uses a fictional Foursquare like service to become the mayor of a coffee shop. In the comic, this entitles him to discounts on coffee. In a strange twist of life imitating art, Starbucks is now providing discounts to actual Foursquare mayors of various Starbucks across the land. This is a pretty cool blending of the virtual space with the actual space and starts to highlight a lot of the promise of Location Based Services. It turns it all into a sort of ‘meta game’ and I, for one, find it utterly fascinating (not least of all because I find PVP hilarious!) I think you’ll begin to see more and more of these sorts of blurring between the real world and the virtual world.
Before there was Avatar and even before Fisher-Price Viewmaster, there was stereoscopy or stereo photographs that presented scenes in life-like three dimensions similar to a Viewmaster. A recent book on one set of Stereoscopic photos of 1850’s village life titled “A Village Lost and Found”. It is a picture book that evokes the Victorian times of a specific village through a series of 3-D images meticously gathered over a lifetime of research. But one of the most fascinating aspects of the work is its relevance to geospatial and social networking technologies today. The authors, Brian May and spent years searching to determine if the village was a composite of multiple villages or a specific location, but it wasn’t until 2003 that they asked for help through the Interent community and someone responded with a, “Well, I live there” that it was solved. How many other geographical mysteries big and small have been solved or are waiting to be solved by the world’s increased connectivity?
As many of you know, I just love Photosynth, so naturally I had to post when I was catching up on tech news this afternoon and read about MySynths, a new Facebook application that lets you upload synths created in Photosynth to your Facebook Profile and display them on your Wall. Developed by speakTech, MySynths is a cloud application that uses Windows Azure cloud services operating system.
Of course I had to try MySynths out, so if you’re on Facebook, you can check out one of my synths uploaded via MySynths here
I was checking out my local news online just a few minutes ago, and a story popped up that our county (Monongalia County, WV) Office of Emergency Management has started up a Twitter feed. I of course immediately logged in to Twitter and am now of 12 Followers. The OEM hopes to use Twitter to notify people about public emergencies, weather alerts, etc. and they’ve already got a post warning about stormy weather this week.
I, for one, am actually more than a little surprised and impressed that at least some of our local officials are embracing social networking, but I’ll be curious to see if they really utilize it (and to see how many more people actually follow their Twitter feed once the word has a chance to spread)
What about you guys out there? Does your local government utilize social networking tools, location-based or otherwise, to help get information out to the public?