Facebook Places could meet skepticism on college campuses

About 5 percent of U.S. web users have used a location-based online service.
About 5 percent of U.S. web users have used a location-based online service.

Facebook’s opt-in feature that lets friends check each other’s locations could be useful for colleges and universities tracking the most popular campus destinations, but social media experts say students haven’t yet embraced geo-tagging in any form.

Facebook announced Aug. 18 that its 500 million members can now use the company’s Places application on their smart phones to tell friends where they are—a local restaurant or movie theater, for example—much like the geo-tagging services Yelp, Gowalla, Booyah, and Foursquare.

Places requires a free download update to the Facebook mobile application, and once users “check in,” they can show their Facebook friends where they are. Members can block the general Facebook population from seeing their location.…Read More

Schools, tech companies tailor social sites for students

Colleges and universities across the United States are going beyond simply creating web sites and pages on Facebook for students to “friend” or “fan”; they’re also working with technology companies to build their own social networks and integrate them into campus life to boost admissions and retain students, Reuters reports. One new app from San Francisco-based Inigral Inc. allows colleges to create social networks within Facebook, while a mobile technology from Foursquare gives students the ability to walk into an event, check their phone, and find other students. Like many apps from technology start-ups, these student-oriented ones currently are free for users, but the owners see the potential to make big profits in the future as capabilities increase and usage grows. “We want to be able to find prospective students where they are, and it is clear to us that Facebook is the dominant source,” said Columbia College Chicago’s executive director of admissions, Murphy Monroe, whose college recently adopted the new app from Inigral, called “Schools on Facebook.” “We want to meet them there in a secure way, and in a way that feels authentic to our school’s culture, and the [new] product gave us an unusual way to do that.” The app allows colleges to form private communities that give students school-specific profiles and keeps them separate from personal accounts. When students sign up, they give Facebook permission to add the app, and school information is then waiting for them upon their first login…

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Site asks social networkers to rethink revelations

Frequent updates on web sites like Twitter could make users vulnerable.
Frequent updates on web sites like Twitter could make users vulnerable.

As more people reveal their whereabouts on social networks, a new site has sprung up to remind students and others that letting everyone know where you are — and, by extension, where you’re not — could leave you vulnerable to those with less-than-friendly intentions. The site’s name says it all: Please Rob Me.

Launched last week, Please Rob Me is exceptionally straightforward. Pretty much all it does is show posts that appear on Twitter from a location-sharing service, Foursquare, that has become popular on college campuses. Please Rob Me puts these posts into a long, chronological list it refers to as ”Recent Empty Homes.”

Please Rob Me assembles its list by taking information that Twitter makes freely available so that many web sites can show tweets. But the point of Please Rob Me could be made with data that flows on dozens of other sites as well.…Read More