Brightkite is a microblog, like Twitter, with a few extra features, such as the option to comment on or like another’s post. Also, pictures are posted directly to the stream rather than linking, which is something I’ve always wished Twitter would do. But the main difference with Brightkite is that they’ve amped up the geo-tagging options. The whole mission of the site is to get people to use the internet to connect offline. That’s right, they want you to leave the security of your cozy computer room and talk to people in person.
The geo-tagging thing has always seemed a little creepy to me, as if having “followers” weren’t bad enough. Brightkite makes it even easier to stalk people, because in addition to posting status updates, users can submit “Checkins” to let others know exactly where they are. And the search functions are super specific, narrowing by location, age, and gender. That means you can find strangers to pursue without having to do much browsing. The downside, as always, is there aren’t nearly enough users to follow around. I ran a search for users here in St. Louis and found only five people in the city that had posted in the last month. That is not much to choose from, and I am pretty picky about whose bushes I hide in.
If the site gains popularity, it could become very handy for marketing, as it can track what types of people are visiting which places and how frequently they are doing so. They call this Augmented Reality Advertising, and it reminds me of The Feed, a book with a futuristic setting in which the characters are bombarded by mental commercials of things their brain feeds predict they will be interested in. The whole thing is a little strange to me, but like I said, if people start using it, there could be great potential for business.