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This is a bit of a good-new-bad-news Christmas story, but it might help those of you (us) who have not even started our Christmas shopping yet.
You know those friends you have on Facebook or Twitter who are always updating their newsfeeds with where they are? I have one whose job takes him to various hospitals, and for awhile he has a habit of checking in at those hospitals throughout the day. I expect that was a little unnerving for people who didn't understand that going to the hospital was part of his job. And I have a few other friends who check in everywhere - at restaurants, malls, even their own home. Most of these people have teenagers, and I assume this is one way the parents keep an eye on their digitally-literate offspring (who probably know how to jimmy-rig their smart phones, but why worry the parents needlessly, right?).
So anyway, if you have a friend who likes to "check in" at retail establishments periodically, you will soon be able to send that friend a virtual "gift card" through a service called Dropost.it. The folks over at TechCrunch had a chance to preview the service through Facebook, and have a report, HERE. The service will also pull from your friends' "likes" and interests, on Facebook (so NOW we know what all of that data-harvesting was about - it was our Christmas surprise!).
That's the good news. Mashable has the bad news, at least for those hoping they can do all of their shopping using this nifty little new-fangled service. Apparently, only about 5% of adults have ever checked in using these geo-tagging sites, and only about 1% or 2% do it often enough to make the data relevant. For some reason that the marketers just can't figure out, most people apparently just don't WANT to check in everywhere they go, so they can update their social news feeds. Imagine that. Perhaps they're concerned about privacy? Security? Boring their friends to tears? Who knows?
But for those friends of yours in that 5% (or 1-2%) who do feel it is important to notify every one they know about their exact location at all times - you'll soon be able to leave them little surprises in their e-mail. No word, yet on who will be selling virtual lumps of coal. Ho ho ho!