Monday, September 27, 2010

In the Loopt

With the proliferation of social media, we have increasingly allowed our lives to be read like an open book. We update our thoughts, feelings, activities and more. We have a constant connection with people even when they’re far from us. However, with every form of technology, it evolves and morphs into something new. It seems that the new is here now with Loopt.

Loopt is a mobile application that is described as “a social-mapping service that lets you use the location of your phone to discover the world around you.” It’s similar to Foursquare (in fact Loopt and Foursquare were founded and developed within a year of each other). Users can connect to their friends and see where they are in relation to themselves, what they are doing and share information. The goal is to become connected with the world around you with the people you choose. Friends can share ratings of places and events they have visited as well as photos, Facebook and Twitter updates. The company now has a suite of applications for users including Loopt Star, similar to Foursquare, Loopt Pulse for iPad users, and Loopt Mix, which allows users to look for new people  with similar interests and message them instantly.

Loopt, and applications like it, seem as though they would be the logical next step after our social networking sites that took off on the Internet. If we really want to be connected, we can use applications like these to truly connect with our friends by finding them and meeting up face-to-face.

However, with competition and the nature of the product, I’m not sold on how far Loopt will go in the process of becoming a popular social media application. With more popular competitors like Foursquare, Loopt may very well die out while its competitors become the go-to applications. Also, some people are turned off by this kind of technology; it’s essentially a GPS to find the people you are connected with. I personally find Foursquare and Loopt a little creepy – I have no desire to let people know exactly where I am (directions included). However, audiences even younger than the college-aged set may latch onto this media, grow up with it, and make it the next big thing.

Although the future of Loopt is unclear, it is clear that mobile location-based are the next trend to watch for. Our own age group is slowly adopting them, and it will be interesting to see where the next age groups take them in the years to come. 

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