After attending a recent SanFrancisco Social Media Club event, I realized that geolocation has aplace, and the technology is equally as exciting to consumers as it is tobusinesses.

For instance, remember thinkingwhen you first started micro-blogging/using Facebook/using social statusupdates, who’s going to care that I’m headed to the grocery store to stock upon cookie dough? That thought can be dissected to identify all of the differentpeople who will, in fact, care. 

First, your local grocery store isgoing to want to know where you’re going and what factors impacted your decisionso they can entice you to keep coming back. Secondly, the corporatesupermarkets want to know if the local grocery stores are offering a betterprice. Next, the cookie dough manufacturers are eager to learn if you havebrand loyalty and which kind you plan to bake.  Lastly, how aboutyour friend’s who want to know which book you consulted for the recipe? Thelist goes on and on…

The point is, lots of people areinterested in your consumption patterns and most of them are offeringincentives for you to divulge this information. Given the state of the economy,customer loyalty is more important now than ever before. Companies have turnedto this feature to gather insights and offer incentives based on this newlyacquired data, helping them to keep their existing customers and attract newones.

To illustrate geo-location at its best, just this week Twitterannounced that it is partnering with Foursquare and Gowalla on a new geolocation feature called “Places” which allows consumersto see messages from other users who have also visited that location. This technology is redefining social networking by giving local businesses theopportunity to connect with consumers on a more intimate basis.  And thebest part?  Your consumption patterns prove you’ll be interested inwhat they offer!  This same type of feature is found with tools like GoogleTags and Yelp, which give consumers theability to rate a business based on their services.

To jump into geolocation, takeadvice from Social Media Club panelist Louis Gray of Paladin Advisors Group: Spend five minutes with your favorite geo-locationfeature and search the terms “super swarms” and “Indonesia.”  You’ll beamazed at the possibilities.

— Heather Arft