[W]ith Facebook’s announcement today of Facebook Deals, that’s beginning to change. In a press conference, CEO Mark Zuckerberg rolled out an impressive roster of merchants willing to play along with Facebook’s Places. Check into the Gap and earn a free pair of jeans. Check into North Face and earn $1 for the National Park Foundation. Not only that, Facebook has removed much of the friction from the process. It’s a few simple clicks from walking into a store and earning a deal through Facebook.
I’ll be honest: after using Foursquare a handful of times, I got very bored with it. It might have been that I didn’t have anyone in the area to compete against, that I didn’t go out a lot, that it was a pain to remind myself to check-in, there was no reward for any check-ins, or any number of reasons that keep conjuring in my brain. I dropped it after a couple of weeks of inconstant use.
With this announcement, Facebook is poised to steal the thunder from Foursquare for location based interactions. They’ve taken the idea to the next level in terms of rewarding all people (not just mayors) for visits and given a greater number of incentives for using a location based application.
Although, let’s be honest with ourselves here. Facebook is not an entity that comes to mind when you think of “privacy protection”. They’ve had their own issues with privacy, but a service like this does beg the question: what are you willing to give up to get a benefit? If I can check-in on Facebook Deals to get a free appetizer at a restaurant or a discount on a pair of shoes, is this snapshot of my shopping habits worth the trade in goods or services? In other words, how does the quid pro quo work for the end user?
Furthermore, is there something that we as libraries can do to capitalize on something like Facebook Deals? David Lee King wrote a post about using Foursquare with libraries back in January. Is there something we could offer patrons for checking in at the library? Off the top of my head, some random things come to mind: an extra item over the limit (like DVDs), jump ahead on a hold’s list, giveaways (show this and get a free book for your kid, for example), fine or overdue waiving, or home delivery of materials. (Disclaimer: I said random things, not things that would work perfectly or always make sense.)
Could Facebook Deals be a big deal for libraries?