Is Facebook The Walmart Of The Internet?

FacebookEveryone knows Walmart has been a powerful force in the retail industry. They were one of the first to adopt the UPC code, ultimately sparking global adoption. Today, you’d be surprised if you found something without a barcode of some sort. I am sure it is because of this clout that Walmart has been invited to lead several other initiatives including replacing UPCs with radio frequency identification (RFID) tags and going organic.

Now let’s shift gears to the internet. In the last three years Facebook’s growth has grown exponentially. The Facebook experience has grown from sporadic posts to a daily habit; a disease often diagnosed as Facebook addiction. Concerns of privacy have gone by the wayside as more and more people share everything from what’s on their mind at any second of the day to pictures of family get-togethers.  People have made Facebook a part of their daily routine.

The latest tech trend is sharing your exact location with the interwebs through social applications like Foursquare, Gowalla, Loopt, Twitter…and now Facebook. Each tool has its own set of features so it’s up to each person to find their own preference. However, regardless of privacy concerns people are using these tools voluntarily. Ironic how people were concerned about RFID tags a few years ago and yet many mobile phones now have GPS.

Now for those that love numbers, let’s see just how quickly gelocation services are growing. Foursquare which was only founded in March of 2009, just reached 2 million users. Sounds small but that’s nearly half of all mobile users. Now, let’s compare it to the internet’s giant. Facebook was founded in 2004 and didn’t break the 50 million user mark until 2007. These location based services are still in their infancy, but will undoubtedly continue to grow.

With the support of Facebook, I expect sharing your location will become mainstream. I won’t be surprised if my grandma starts checking in on Facebook at her retirement community in Palm Beach. Much like Walmart has become an early adopter in the retail industry; if you want the world to adopt something, just call Facebook for help.

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