On Wednesday, August 18, Facebook launched Places, their location-based social media application – which is gradually rolling out to all U.S. users in the next few days. Like other popular location-based social media networks, you can check in from your mobile device to immediately share where you are. Facebook Places also allows you to share which friends you’re with in real time.
Go to Places on the iPhone application or touch.facebook.com site and then tap the “Check In” button. You’ll see a list of places near you. Choose the place that matches where you are. If it’s not on the list, search for it or add it. After checking in, your check-in will create a story in your friends’ News Feeds and show up in the Recent Activity section on the page for that place.
When you check in, you can also tag friends who are with you, just as you can tag a friend in a status update or photo. You can post an update along with your check-in to tell people more about what you are doing.
For those who are weary about being tagged in Facebook Places and possibly being outed about their whereabouts, you can prevent friends from tagging you by going into your Privacy Setting and disabling “Friends can check me into Places” in the “Things Others Share” section of the settings page.
Location-based social media networks are an interactive marketing development that is rapidly growing in popularity. With Foursquare, MyTown, Gowalla and many other location-based social networks, it seems inevitable that Facebook would launch its own application. In time we will see how the application gains traction. The next time you head off to a new destination, check in with Places to find out which friends are there and read the comments from other friends who’ve been there before.