Saturday, September 24, 2011

A different Foursquare application (or, not everyone is a techno geek)

The beauty of Facebook is that because of its appeal to many different types of people, you can find all sorts of people on Facebook. "Yo momma" is probably on Facebook...and yo grandmomma is probably on Facebook also.

However, this can sometimes lead to confusion.

One of my Facebook friends happens to be a technologically-oriented person who is known for advising people on the best ways to use social media. She is also a committed Christian. And she has a life outside of social media, and freely admits it.

On Friday night I was having a wall-based conversation with this person on Facebook. She was wondering about the privacy implications of Facebook's new timeline, and had shared a link to the post The Facebook Timeline is the nearest thing I’ve seen to a digital identity (and it’s creepy as hell). I made some comments about the Facebook timeline and privacy.

And then I brought Foursquare into the conversation.

One thing shared by Foursquare and Facebook's new timeline - and by a lot of other services - is that when you reveal information about yourself, you may be revealing information about others. I blogged about this at length back in August 2010, in a post that discussed this issue from several angles:
  • My reluctance, even today, to publicly post about my August 2010 trip to "Deer University," because that would violate the privacy of someone that I know.
  • How a tweet that discussed my presence at the El Toro restaurant in Tacoma, Washington could reveal a lot to those who know a little bit about my employer. As I said in the post, "even though my employer never joined Foursquare ... they're part of the Foursquare exonetwork."
  • How the things that we share about our infant children could come back to haunt them later. (A 2011 update: think before posting those baby pictures of your kids in your Facebook timeline.)
  • The story of Kunur Patel, who was out dining in New York one night, checked her entire party in via the then-new Facebook Places...and then incurred the wrath of her friends - her technically-savvy friends - when she revealed the check-in, thus revealing the whereabouts of all four individuals.
I didn't get into all of this in the Facebook wall conversation, but there were three of us on the Facebook wall who were talking about Foursquare and "checkins" and "GPS" and things like that.

And then a fourth person chimed in, to an initial impression that the three of us were talking about checking in at Foursquare churches. For those who don't know, there is a large group (I don't know if they'd appreciate the term "denomination") called the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel, commonly known as the Foursquare Church. The church, which was started in the 1920s by Aimee Semple McPherson, is still popular in the United States today, and is very popular in other parts of the world.

So when a bunch of techno geeks talk about "Foursquare" around a bunch of religious geeks, there's always the possibility of confusion.

And to add to the confusion, I subsequently found this "Foursquare app" in the Android Market. Its description?

Locate Foursquare churches close to your current location via GPS, read official headlines and tweets.

No word on whether the app allows you to earn badges.

So now I'm wondering if there are other terms that techno geeks use that can cause confusion with non techno geeks. I'm sure there are a bunch of them; what are your favorites?
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