Of all the things that social has tried to nail down, location and search are the most exclusive. Facebook spent years trying to convince people to check in and share their location by whatever means possible and hadn't much success. On the other hand, Foursquare has it down to a tee, but can't seem to make a profit.
Yet it looks increasingly likely that Twitter will be the company that will crack the code and figure out the perfect middle ground between location and social with its latest experiment.
Late last week, TechCrunch reported that Twitter was testing a trending topics mini box for events happening nearby. The box focuses on a representative event tweet that's happening nearby and allows you to discover related tweets and hashtags.
Twitter has been experimenting with a similar feature involving TV shows, and it hiring the former head of Google's media and entertainment ad sales, Jennifer Prince, is unsurprising considering how much attention it's placing on TV shows and advertising. But it's location that could turn out to be the surprise package.
For one, Twitter is best suited to location due to it primarily being a mobile platform. More than 60% of users access it this way so the potential to introduce location or GPS capabilities is there. If you think about it, the majority of trending topics are location specific and the majority of people tweeting about them would be right there. So location specific hashtags and highlighting related hashtags automatically appearing makes a lot of sense.
This opens up a number of other possibilities. For one, sponsored tweets by location already exists, but what if you could hone in on a specific area like a festival area for promoted tweets and hashtags. Maybe even multiple hashtags relating to the same event can work, depending on its size.
This will be heavily dependent on whether Twitter can improve the location selection on promoted tweets. Currently, you only choose a general area for you to target your tweets, but a potential geo-targeting option would really get things rolling.
For location specific events, it's a perfect fit and maybe it could eventually lead to a Foursquare type system where event sponsors can use the hashtag to alert users to deals, features or special offers within the confines of the event. This could also extend itself to a Foursquare type situation where nearby amenities can advertise to you based on your location.
While Twitter is putting most of its focus on TV, where the big advertising revenue lies, location could really turn it into a true mobile centric company. It's got the content aspect down to a tee so only a matter of time before its advertising efforts catch up.
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