Geolocation based search

May 15th, 2010 by Laura Leave a reply »

I’ve been kind of neglectful at Fan History of late.  A lot of this is because I’ve started a research degree focusing on sports fandom in Australia.  One of my interests has been Foursquare, because by watching sports venues, you can get an idea of geographic patterns in a fan community, see mobile phone penetration and kind of gauge the size of a fandom.  There are some really interesting patterns that I’ve begun to explore on Ozzie Sport.

Sites like Foursquare make the geographic component of online activity more important than ever before.  As more and more local businesses get online, finding relevant content so you can find a business near you grows more important.  This also applies to fandom: We want to find like minded fans in our area so that we can make new friends where we’ll have the chance to meet and maybe get together for a hot chocolate and discuss the newest episode of Survivor.  Or maybe, you can find a real time gathering of Twilight fans who are going to see a movie together.  That way, you don’t need to see it alone and can do a lot of squeeing over it with people who will appreciate your love of the books and movies.  If you’re a sports fan, sites like Foursquare can help you find local fans.  You can make the link to their Twitter account or their Facebook account, see if they are some one who seems like they share other interests with you… and if you’re both regularly attending games, then maybe you can find a new friend to go matches with.  Or if you’re a sports team, maybe you can use location services to see what you’re fans are saying about the venue and issues like parking or restrooms, and then figure out how to address these in real time.

Most of the time when people want to search, they go to Google. …  Or these days, they search on Twitter.  For location based search, these can be problematic.  Doing a search for “Harry Potter” fans Canberra is not likely to pull up relevant and timely results.  You can sort of do that sort of searching for events on Facebook or MeetUp.com but searching those limits the results to pages on their sites.  One site working to try to address the problems in location search is   http://sency.com/.  They’ve currently got search on for a couple of major cities.  (Sadly, none in Australia or I’d be all about using them on OzzieSport.com in order to get additional data.)  It is pretty cool in the bits that I’ve looked at.  If I want to see what Chicago folks are saying about the Blackhawks, it is pretty easy.  (And I shouldn’t have to worry about as much spam, unless it is originating from Chicago based spammers.  I also don’t have to worry about what San Jose fans are saying about the Blackhawks, because who wants to worry about another team’s fans raining on my love parade?)  If you get the chance, it is worth checking out.  There is some room for improvement as I can’t easily find links to the originating tweets and what content they do search is a bit limited, but the potential is there.

Disclaimer: I was not paid for this post.  One of the people involved with the company asked me if I might promote it and  as I like to promote things that I see as interesting and relevant to fandom, I’m happy to do that.

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