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The 2010 George Orwell Remix – Do you geo or don’t you geo?

2010 - the Year of the Geo-web or of Geo-Dread?The rising popularity of neo-geography and all of the  geo- applications is causing a debate hotter than health care in 2009.  People are very strongly planted either on the “I love geo!” side or the “Are you kidding me? Let everyone know where I am?! No Way!” side.  Neutrality doesn’t seem to be a player in this game, and we are only in the first inning!

I, as you may well know, am a geo-phile. If it has a map app to it, I’m on it like white on rice (my new geo-bff? – friend me, I’m “janie” there).  My husband, on the other hand, goes all George Orwellian on me any time I mention adding something like Google Latitude to his phone (I’m the one who called Lo-Jack and asked if they could implant one on my husband 5 years ago, still nothing!).  He just doesn’t want to be found, he feels it an invasion of privacy.  End of story.

From a security standpoint, I get it, we don’t want stalkers knowing our every move. As real estate professionals, we sure put ourselves out there and letting the creepy crawlies know where you are can be a security issue, there is no doubt. You can ride with the geo-wave and not risk your neck by following a few rules of thumb:

  1. Most geo-tagging apps and software will ask you if it is OK to publish your location, either each time you use them or in the settings so just be aware of what info you are making available and when.
  2. You can always use a general location (ie within a 1 mile radius) instead of an exact location.
  3. You can post your location as you leave (if using Foursquare, Brightkite, etc) your locale instead of when you arrive.
  4. Only publish real time locations if you are with another person.
  5. Don’t publish your home location and when you are/aren’t there.

There is so much good Google power in geo, I wouldn’t let security concerns keep you from the party, just party smart.

The privacy issue is another animal all together. There is less overcoming this if you just like to run incognito all the time.  This is where I run into the hyper anti-geophites the most.  They just don’t want people knowing where they are (see hubby story above).  This is more DNA encrypted and I am not sure you can change this aspect of yourself (sort of like being a Coke or Pepsi drinker). What I would offer my fair friends on the other side of the aisle is this; Geo is the new way.  Geo is getting bigger and bigger, bonds you with your community like crazy, builds your brand as that of the local authority and has crazy good Google-punch.  If you don’t want to publish your own location, you can still use the geo-web to post your favorite locations, pics, attractions yet keep your own personal location a secret.  You can still be the masked avenger, don’t worry.

From either side of the aisle, you can find ways to use the blooming geo-web to build your business and your brand.  Do it in a way that resonates with you, is safe and is productive.  Find the app or apps that work within your boundaries of comfort and go for it!

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Are you a geo-phile or an anti-geophite?  Why?  What thrills you, concerns you?  Let’s hear it!

Written By

Janie has been in the development, construction and real estate industries for over 20 years. She began her career in commerical construction and has slowly worked into all of the related industries and added residential properties to her resume 7 years ago. She is currently the co-owner of sister companies, Papillon Real Estate and Papillon ReDevelopment (a construction and project management firm). Janie blogs for The Coral Gables Story. In her "free" time, she is a graduate student of Atlantic History with a focus on the history of business and technology. She is a lover of geo-anything. She loves the story.



  1. Ken Brand

    December 9, 2009 at 4:24 pm

    It’s important to talk about these new tools, the in’s and out’s and the good, bad and uglies – so thanks:-)

    Personally, I’m with you and your advice is platinum – don’t be a knuckle head, be wise.

    I like that I can use it when I want. I also think that the illusion of privacy is exactly that, if you use a debit/credit card or cell phone, some big brain can figure out where you’ve been and what you’re up to.

    Bottom line, since they exist, I’ll use them as wisely as I can, to help me succeed as quickly and conveniently as I can. When new privacy barriers go into place, I’ll adopt those too.


  2. Amy Cesario

    December 12, 2009 at 10:07 pm

    In trying to find a happy medium, sending out a geo notification that sends a twitter update and updates my calendar is a great tool for tracking my time and keeping records. Sometimes though, I sent the notification when I left as opposed to when I arrived. Is that deceitful? What thrills me are the people I have met through these tools, knowing a little bit about them on line, then having a conversation and ultimately meeting face to face and expanding my network, I would not have met some amazing people without taking the risk of using tools like these.

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