I’m starting to pull things together for the E-Rhetoric course that starts in January, so a twitter from Anne that Brightkite was in open beta came at the right moment.
I’m a latercomer to the service, so much of this has been said before. At root, Brightkite is like Twitter but centered on location information: the where just as much as the what. Less bird here than bird here. When a user checks in, they make their location available to others nearby. And that allows for face to face contact and flash mobbing.
The service also has built-in photo sharing, which opens the message up to more than 160 characters. That visual channel makes a difference.
It’s integrated with Twitter, so that posting to Brightkite will also post a location and a link to the photo to the twitterstream. Need to be careful with that feature; it can create a lot of noise on Twitter. (Of course, Brightkite also has a Twitter account, so you can follow them.)
It has the usual friends network set up, and will send notifications vie email or text.
Some older mentions:
lauren’s library blog » brightkite and twitter
Brightkite: Twitter + Maps + Photos – Joe Lazarus
Matt Thommes / Customize Brightkite-to-Twitter updates
Hands on with Brightkite: real-world social networking
A Peek At Brightkite For the iPhone
and of course
Brightkite Wants to Win the Mobile Social Network Battle
One interesting marketing feature is the Brightkite Wall. It streams Brightkite activity to a browser that can be set as full screen. The persuasive element is the banner encouraging viewers to send text messages that will appear on the wall – without having to register.
But there are some prosaic uses for all this in mobile learning. Students out exploring can trace where they’ve been and where they are, which makes it possible to focus content sent to them. And the wall allows everyone in a cohort see where everyone else is. That says flash mob gorilla theater.
So far, I’m finding Brightkite more interesting to play with than Twitter. Pulling together act, place, and image is pretty compelling. I’ll run it past the E-Rhetoric students and see what they can come up with.