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Facebook just for idle hands? Maybe, but here’s something local retailers should take note of.

April 16, 2010

Interesting article over on CNN.com this morning. Seems Facebook is looking to get some of the location-based social networking business that Foursquare and Gowalla have been enjoying and is now looking to introduce their own “Places” technology into the popular online networking site.

While the overwhelming majority of the comments posted after the article describe this anywhere from “creepy” to “stalker enabling,” there might be some merit in Facebook’s thinking.

For instance, bars, pubs and taverns could gain business by being recognized as “hot spots” where people are gathering — imagine posting that you’re going out this evening to your friends, but not sure where to meet up at. With the proliferation of Facebook on smartphones, your social network would be immediately notified as to where you are when you make a post at your destination. Sure, this is a key use of Twitter and for sure Facebook is trying to capitalize on the notion that your friends want to know where you are at all times and what you’re doing.

But there’s a deeper strategy here for Facebook and I think it has to do with a continuance of their advertising model. Already, retailers and other small business owners catering directly to consumers are flocking to Facebook to have their businesses set up with a Facebook Page. Just as Facebook has allowed you to create live links to your Facebook friends within your wall posts, expect the same strategy to help drive traffic to your favorite Pages.

In the end, it’s a certainty that the world is drawing closer and closer together at an ever-more rapid pace. Facebook’s take on making your location apparent to all your friends is just one more step down the road of “I want it and I want it now.”

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