NOTE: This blog also appears on Waggener Edstrom’s Thinkers & Doers blog.
Get ready. The giant social networking behemoth known as Facebook has finally stirred from its hibernation in location-based land.
A move of this nature by Facebook is undoubtedly always followed by a flurry of activity by communications pros as everyone races to establish a POV, spotlight bugs or issues and highlight best practices.
A quick blog, Twitter or news search this morning around “Facebook Places” is enough to produce a whirlwind headache before you even reach that slew of 30 client e-mails with subject lines similar to the title of this post.
Ready? Deep breath. WE’s got your back.
First, it’s important to note that not all 500 million Facebook users are waking up to find that they have access to Facebook Places this morning. As opposed to blasting the entire community, Facebook is being smart, testing the waters and assuredly waiting to gather feedback as they slowly open access to all users.
You’re also not going to find a new ”Places” tab simply by logging on to Facebook via your desktop or laptop unless you visit here — http://touch.facebook.com. In addition, unless you have an iPhone, you’re out of luck until Facebook rolls out versions for Android and BlackBerry.
If this is the first you’re hearing about Facebook Places or have only heard mentions of the service, here are some helpful resources to get started:
3 Resources to Help You Learn About Facebook Places
1. Mashable. A Field Guide to Using Facebook Places
3. Techmeme. Another good resource to follow key updates and changes. If you need the minute-by-minute, nitty-gritty details and insight, following the topic Twitter stream is probably your best bet.
Yada, yada, yada. Great, I can “check-in” now using a platform other than Foursquare. Why is this stuff at all important to me, my company or business or my clients???
I highly encourage you to hop over and check out Tracey Udas’ post about 5 Things You Need to Know About Facebook Places Right Now. To summarize Tracey’s post, Places impacts the following:
Business Presence On Facebook. Facebook is hedging confusion around how Places will impact businesses that currently have pages, be it robust or minimal.
Privacy. A unique and possibly controversial aspect of Places is the fact that you will be able to check friends into locations similar to how you tag friends in photos. This is currently a DEFAULT setting and needs to actively be changed by users. No fear, it’s a simple process, and LifeHacker has provided an excellent step-by-step video to guide you through the process:
Feeling calmer? Good. Mission accomplished. Now, let’s get strategic…