In the Madmen heyday if you were in advertising and you weren’t on Madison Avenue you were nowhere.
Today you can run a successful business from anywhere so long as you have a computer and wi-fi access; and plenty of people do.
So why is location creeping back into the equation with a huge buzz around GPS and Geolocation technology ?
Advertisers love it for a start. It means they can direct local adverts to local people and now means I get ads via Spotify for Wilkinson’s in Maidenhead (that gave me a fright.)
Newspapers can use it too, to show their readers online via Google maps exactly where incidents took place.
You can tag your photos with the location you took the pix and you need never get lost again either on foot or in the car.
foursquare is geolocation presented in the form of a game, with users checking in to places and earning kudos for visiting most often. It can even lead to free drinks and discounts if you become ‘mayor’ of certain bars or shops.
People over the age of 30 have been known to use it, to check out their contacts in order to arrange impromptu meetings. (Thanks @Grahamjones)
But I am still not convinced that we have the local mindset to make this fly.
I have spent the last 10 years transferring my shopping habits online and global. I don’t need an ad on my mobile for a local gaming shop because I am already buying my Nintendo DS games from Hong Kong on E-bay for a fraction of the cost. Everything else comes from Amazon.
Real life shopping is now a treat to be savoured and I don’t want advertisers bombarding me with spam while I do it.
Anyone concerned about the way modern life sucks up their personal data should be freaking out about geolocation tools. It’s one thing being able to see which mate is in which bar, but imagine yourself as a little red dot moving across a map being tracked by …..insert here (the council, the government, MI5 ? )
It should certainly make Private Detectives lives a lot easier.
But as to whether location itself matters ?
I am glad not to have to live in London anymore and to be able to connect with influencers from around the world via Twitter. As someone who writes I can also send my work wherever it needs to go via e-mail or publish direct.
But I will still work hard to maintain a network of people who are physically local to me and unless we are George Clooney in ‘Up in the Air’, we need to connect regularly with real people to keep our feet on the ground.
What do you think ?
* Thanks to Melanie Mackie from Scarletta Media who got me thinking about these issues when she announced her first local Tweetup for contacts in Wokingham. Good luck, I hope it goes well.