Social – Local – Mobile. It’s an attempt to coin a single word that combines the potential of these three trends. It’s being called a revolution that “picks up where hyperlocal left off”
Or not. I’ve only heard the term used by Americans, and at one conference recently it was met with blank stares from an audience drawn from 10 or 12 European nations.
The New York times gives a definition, helpfully pointing out that it’s “unique to the mobile device”. Makes sense – my desktop doesn’t move more than about 5 cm in either direction.
The examples I’ve found seem to be new businesses focusing on entertainment, few service organisations or established businesses seem to be using this at all.
- Forecast is a fun and simple way for friends to share where they’re going.
- SCVNGR is a game about doing challenges at places
- Foodspotting; Find and recommend dishes, not just restaurants.
- Localmind is a new service that allows you to send questions and receive answers about what is going on—right now—at places you care about.
Those listed are all US-based, they all use the geo-location (local) function of your phone (mobile) to let you send some form of message (social). Like any social tool they rely on a critical mass to be truly useful; in the same way that the first fax machine was useless, and only started to become useful as others came into use. So it’ll be interesting which of these (if any) survive.
I’m also curious to see whether an established business will build an own tool – my guess is not, they’re more likely to find ways to advertise and provide services through whichever SoLoMo tools emerge as having the numbers to make it worth while.
Will the term catch on in Europe? Who knows, among non-English speakers it may require just a little too much explaining. In any case I’m not the only one who cringes when I do hear it. Techcrunch have already called for the term to die.
Post script September 2018: It never caught on, I think because smartphones became so normal that we don’t need a specific term.
Image earphones via pixabay