Facebook 'Places': Forever exposing just how boring our lives really are

Those impressively young kids who run Facebook announced today a brand new “product” called Places, which essentially allows you to “check in” at whatever place you’re currently occupying, see which of your friends are at that same place (or nearby), post updates about that location to that location’s Facebook page, and/or get a sense of all the cool things currently going on around you. (While anyone can use the tagging features on Places, you can only check in via your iPhone or “advanced mobile device,” and only the iPhone version runs natively on the Facebook app. All other touch-screen, web-enabled phones will have to make do with the touch browser version of Places. And that’s about as geeky as this post will get.) Intriguingly, location-based social networking sites Gowalla, Foursquare, Yelp, and Booyah were all on hand at Facebook’s Palo Alto offices as official partners, announcing how their respective sites would integrate their services with Places.

A few things immediately struck me about this announcement: The sociological ramifications of a collective “memory” of a location being posted in real time online; the privacy issues of having friends be alerted when you’re nearby (or, as one questioner at tonight’s official announcement pointedly noted, having a friend create your private party as a semi-public “place,” and all you can do is “flag” that place and hope Facebook takes it down). But first and foremost, my life is suddenly going to seem very, very boring. As Places rolls out to Facebook users over the next few days, all of my hip and happening Facebook friends are going to see that “Adam is home with his boyfriend and dog,” “Adam is at the local Greek place for lunch,” and “Adam is at home, watching HGTV.” I actually don’t think that’s how Places will exactly work, but you get the idea: Us homebodies who spend inordinate amounts of time at home or at work updating our Facebook statuses are going to be called out as the joyless shut-ins we clearly are.

What do you make of Facebook’s latest foray into creating an engine for people to live their lives online? Will you be avidly checking in via Places? Or will you make a beeline for the privacy settings and opt out of Places placing you in your, er, place?

Comments (49 total) Add your comment
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  • Tracy

    How do you get this update?

  • Emma

    I’m with you Adam. The app has barely launched and I’m already depressed.

  • MsDaisy

    I thought Twitter exposed our boring lives. What on earth does Ashton Kutcher have to say that is so fascinating to so many people?

  • Ben

    This has gotten out of hand. No one is that important and no one is that interesting. As far as I’m concerned, anyone who keeps using these devices deserves to be burglarized while they are out.

    • Kate


    • Vicky

      Okay, but EVERYBODY benefits from these meds mtanelly they make EVERYBODY more productive and sharper and faster. Just because they benefit you too doesn’t mean you have a disease, it means you’ve conned yourself and/or others into thinking you do so you can get your fix.

  • jbreal

    Has anyone considered the bigger ramifications that others will see that you’re anywhere but home, making you vulnerable to robbery, stalkers and theft…oh my!

    • kaci

      Exactly what I was thinking.

    • Scott

      Maybe that will finally make people realize that all the junk is stupid and useless. No one cares where you are. If I wanted to see a friend, then I’d call them up and ask them to hang out. I’m not gonna be like OH SO-AND-SO IS HERE, I’M GONNA GO DISTURB WHATEVER THEY’RE DOING AND LET EVERYONE KNOW MY HOUSE IS EMPTY!!!1 :\

      • Cori

        Come on guys–just cause one person is out of the house, doesn’t mean it’s empty. You’d have to know who lives with the person and where they are too.

  • MCS

    The perfect way to invite robbers to stop by your house. Wasnt some woman on the news just the other week for this happening? And now Facebook encourages it?

    • Rusty Shackleford

      Are you going to have robbers as friends on your Facebook?

      • jared

        Nearly 70% of home break ins are carried out by people the homeowners know – and by people who know what is of value. Just gotta be careful who you’re friends with.

  • Andrea

    This is not a good idea. I liked using Facebook in college, but I have since lost interest in it. Plus, I don’t want people knowing where I am at all times.

    • Carl

      Have the people behind Facebook ever had an original idea, or are all of their options stolen from other applications?

  • Facebook is so overrated now!

  • Paragon Complex

    Foursquare ripoff. If the developers didn’t sell Facebook the idea they should sue.

    • Niix Starkyller

      Well, since Foursquare was at the conference announcing their already-crafted plans to integrate FB Places…

      • Janizzle

        They had no other choice, really. Facebook would’ve wiped them out.

    • Shir

      I wish to show my thanks to the wrtier just for rescuing me from this type of challenge. Because of browsing through the the web and finding ideas which are not powerful, I was thinking my entire life was well over. Existing minus the solutions to the issues you’ve solved through your main site is a serious case, as well as the kind which could have in a negative way affected my entire career if I hadn’t discovered the website. Your personal talents and kindness in controlling all areas was excellent. I am not sure what I would’ve done if I had not encountered such a stuff like this. I am able to at this moment look ahead to my future. Thanks a lot so much for the specialized and amazing help. I won’t hesitate to propose your web site to any person who would need tips on this area.

  • Brandon

    Just update your Facebook app on iPhone or iPod touch and it will have the feature.

  • Michelle

    Actually, the scary thought is that “Big Brother” will be watching over you…and we allow it!!!!!

    • dctoronto

      You are so right Michelle. People are worried about Government intervention but are almost unaware that the Internet is a far more dangerous beast.
      @Adam…love the collum, glad to know that I am not alone in spending nights in with the BF, dogs and HGTV.

  • Janizzle

    I love Facebook, but I always thought 4Square was idiotic and this is going to be worse. Mark Zuckerberg is the biggest creep on Earth. This is just another way for him to invade our privacy. This feature better be OPTIONAL!

    • Kimmy Gibbler

      Well, unless Places comes with a person who stands over your shoulder constantly scolding you for not updating your location, I’m pretty sure it’ll be optional.

  • Lady Pirate

    I’ll be opting out of this one. There’s a reason I don’t announce my location to the world. And I’d like to keep it that way.

  • Martin Haro

    So stupid.

  • Tal

    I really don’t care where my FB “friends” are. Half the time they are at the strip club and the other half they are at Taco Bell.

    • Remerdre

      Hey, you and I hang out with the same classy people! Except mine prefer KFC.

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