who's on first? Inspire mobile social networks with Dodgeball

Posted by tom klein August 20, 2007

Today social networking is most associated with websites like Facebook or MySpace. However, the real social marketing device isn’t a website that you can access from your laptop on our desk . . . it’s in your pocket.

Dodgeball (owned by Google) shows you how social networking can take advantage of the fact that everyone carries a mobile phone. What’s interesting here is how the combination of mobile phones and social networking can bring together people. Members of this system sign up and confirm their cell phone number. Then, they check in with the service, say when they’re at a bar. The service will then let their friends know where they are and also alert the member if friends or friends of friends are anywhere nearby.

In the same way, you could create a social network today, using low cost tools, and combine it with basic mobile phone capability to keep your customers close to you. While it’s not as easy as just flipping a switch, it could help you retain your existing customers and bring them back to your business more frequently.

This system does not rely on any GPS type of services. Users indicate their location when they communicate with the service. The system knows where (mostly) bars and restaurants are located in the covered cities and can then calculate when people are located close by. The age of GPS will make this type of service even more appealing.

For bars, restaurants, or even coffee shops, this sort of service might b enabled to make it easy to let people know when they’re close to a specific location (e.g., you’re somewhere near the Chik-Fil-A). From there, it just requires some imagination to send along a promotion as well.

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