There’s an inverse corollary I’m proposing regarding Geo-Location: the fewer friends that you have, the greater the value of a Geo-location notice from a friend and in your socialgraph. The more friends that you have, the less value your check-ins are to that larger group. There are a lot of dynamics to support this hypothesis including why people follow/friend, what more centralized networks suggest, etc.
Here’s another part to my axiom-in-the-works: The larger your network, the greater metadata value your check-in may have and the smaller your network, the less metadata value your check-in may offer (unless millions of small-node networks are at work with the same behaviors, etc.). So if a celebrity checks into a place, it may bode well for that place’s popularity and relevance. If one of my friends checks into the taco truck down the road, maybe not so much value unless a hundred people like him do the same.
With these thoughts in mind, I needed to quiet down my check-ins on Facebook, Foursquare and Gowalla so that my socialgraph, twitter stream and other networks aren’t overwhelmed with irrelevant data. In Foursquare and Gowalla I rarely “shout” my location out to my followers in that network and even less often will allow that check-in to leak out to Twitter or Facebook. Both services have done a good job of making that behavior opt-in versus default to protect users from unintentional location announcements.
In Facebook, you can also quiet down your Places activity. On your home or profile page, access the “Account” pull-down in the upper right corner (see image). Go into Facebook “Account” Privacy Settings (linked here). Check “Custom Settings” and edit “Places” to “only me” and whatever other person/group/etc you want to share with. It’s that complicated and easy at the same time. 🙂 Now you’ll be able to enjoy all the benefits of Facebook check-ins of discovering nearby deals, people, events and places without having it show up in your stream as you see in the image here.
Any other tips for maximizing Geo-Location’s utility and value while minimizing its noise-potential?