Monday, May 5, 2008

Hands on with Brightkite: real-world social networking

This Ars Technica article does a pretty good job of explaining BrightKite and how to use it. Essentially, BrightKite lets you answer the question, "Where are you?" and shares that location with others. It will also show you who else is at, or has been at, that same location or nearby. It's very similar to Google's Dodgeball and Yahoo's Fire Eagle, both of which are also in limited release.

I've been using the service for a few days now and am impressed with the overall design and ease-of-use. For me, the primary limiting factor right now is the rather small number of my existing friends who use the service. However, I am experimenting with BrightKite's integration with Twitter, which has the potential to expose my BK check-ins to a wider circle.

Unfortunately, there aren't separate privacy controls for the feed to Twitter—Twitter sees the same as what you have set to public—so I'm working out just how exact I want my check-in locations to be. For example, "home" is currently just the part of town where I live, but retail locations are address-specific. After all, there's not much point in checking in at the coffee shop if no one can see more than just the city and state.

If BrightKite sounds appealing to you, Ars has a limited number of invites to the private beta. Jump in. All the cool kids are doing it!



  1. Thanks for digging that up. I think I might like BriteKite better than Twitter because it takes the functionality one step further. Hope it catches on.

  2. I still love the simplicity of Twitter.. Honestly, I'm not an SMS kid.. don't know why, but I'm just not (yet?).. so until BK gets something more visual, my usage will be limited.. but it sure sounds like they're headed in the right direction..

  3. @sleepydad If you set up some placemarks via the BK website for your most likely haunts and give them really simple names, it's super easy to check-in via SMS. I added the BK shortcode to the address book on my phone for easy access (you could also put it on speed dial). It's actually easier than SMS posting a location to Twitter, although substantially less colorful.