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Monday, November 15, 2010

Location Based Services (e.g. Facebook Places)

Media Salt blogged recently about how churches can use location based services in their ministry. Facebook has their "Places" feature, and there are several other services like Gowalla and Foursquare. The services all have the same basic idea - that you check into the places you go. Many times there is some incentive to check in like a coupon or freebie.

So, how should churches use this technology? It seems like offering coupons (10% off your tithe?) and freebies might be slightly on the consumeristic side of things. One suggestion from the comments of the Media Salt post was to add a tip to the site listing for a nearby hospital with an offer for prayers. No word on if there have been any takers.

The main issue I see with location based services is that they are driven by a consumer model. This is a marketing scheme designed to drive customer traffic. I hope we aren't inviting customers to church to consume.However, I do like the idea of allowing people to share their location and to connect with other people around what they're doing.

What do you think about location based services? What has your experience been with them?

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