40° 44′ 54.36″ N, 73° 59′ 8.5″ W

With the announcement of Facebook’s new “places” location services, we’re likely to see a spike in the use of these services in general. I want to offer some suggestions1 for effective locationality.

Let’s say, you’re at an event and want people nearby to join you. Cool, do it. You want to impress your friends by letting them know you’re at the top of the Empire State Building? I don’t think you’ll get cell reception there, but fine.

However. Please use discretion when alerting people to your location when it is someplace that no one in their right mind would possibly give a crap about.2 I don’t need to know when you’re grocery shopping. I don’t want to know when you’re going through a drive-thru. And there’s probably no good reason to let me know when you’re at home unless I want to know where you live so I can rob you.

Your location is almost always context, not content. In most cases, “I am at Walmart” is pretty useless. On the other hand, “Hey, two-for-one sale on jock-itch ointment at Walmart” is a much better use of your geographic coordinates. Because you don’t have to be a jock to get jock-itch. Trust me.

  1. These are just suggestions. I’m not one of those pontificators who demands you use the internets the way I do or the highway do. I know people get riled up when they think someone’s telling them how to live their lives. That’s why I only tell people about ways to die. Also, don’t get pissed when I unfollow you. []
  2. I realize the situation gets trickier when places offer free stuff to the person who annoys their friends the most. When it comes to these things, we all just have to follow our heart. Or unfollow it, as the case may be. []