What Happens When Social Networks Go Mobile?

from the Friendster-+-mobile-+-stalker-=-? dept

Over at TheFeature, Howard Rheingold is wondering what happens when social networks go mobile? That is, take today’s craze with social networking applications and put them on a mobile phone with some location-based software. As he points out, it makes sense at the purely instant messaging level: you may want to know that your friend just happens to be around the corner. However, he’s not sure it makes sense in the friend-of-a-friend sense. Do you really need to know that the other guy in the elevator is three degrees away from you through some guy you once worked with? Probably not. However, as soon as you add in this location-based presence info, it starts to raise additional questions about privacy. A well-designed application might limit these by letting you very clearly define who you’ll reveal info to, but these apps aren’t always that well designed.

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Comments on “What Happens When Social Networks Go Mobile?”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Two years ago

I thought of this two years ago, when I had a last minute night free, and was calling around to look for a tennis match. “Hey, wouldn’t it be great if you could just look and see who’s available for a match, vs. having to call everyone, consider leaving a message, etc.”

But then I realized a) everyone would have to be constantly updating it, and this group wouldn’t bother – generally those that have time off would schedule something, or wouldn’t and b) privacy concerns mean none of us would bother, either. Because it would be very easy to hack in, see who’s “on the court”, and go back and rob their place (being as some of them live in a rural area, where there’s more robberies…)

All that being said – teens would be much more inclined to use something like this. Still, the “friend of a friend” option, as you pointed out, is a bad idea. And bloody dangerous, too.

bbay says:

wireless devices

Do bluetooth enabled devices continuously broadcast a globally unique ID? Like a MAC address or something? Do cellphones? Seems like WiFi devices probably do.

Could I create a database on the internet that associated these IDs with text messages? Like, “The owner of this phone is grouchy and stupid and owes me 20 bucks.”

How would you prevent that?

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