GeoSocial for Storytellers?

Imagine a fictional motion picture mystery - where clues are unlocked only when the user watches a video episode and visits a real location - or where rewards are earned by physically "meeting up" with others who have collected other useful information from online videos and previous real world and online interactions.

The power of location-specific interactions is something that online storytellers are just beginning to explore.

The tools that allow a user to "checkin" at a particular location - and then unlock content or win some bonus - offer a huge and largely untapped potential for New World storytellers.

There are (of course) some pioneers already exploring this territory (see, Pandemic, Where-Is-This and Gowalla). But fictional storytelling that uses geosocial is still in the early days. A mass audience will begin to experiment and participate only after access to the tools of geosocial storytelling become familiar and ubiquitous.

Fortunately - with the spread of mobile phones with built-in GPS and new apps - the era of geosocial storytelling is rapidly approaching.

Developers (ofter paid by marketing companies) are already working on apps that utilize the power of GPS in mobile web-enabled devices. And millions of consumers are already using some of the more popular geolocation apps (such as Foursquare and Facebook Places).

We're rapidly approaching a tipping point - where enough consumers have "geosocial" apps on their mobile devices and are comfortable and familiar with them (through interactions with marketing campaigns?). Once that happens, fiction writers will have an audience familiar with a whole new array of tools for telling their stories. In other words, the potential for expressive and interactive geosocial storytelling will be unlocked.

Several pioneering companies are already at work building the infrastructure for this coming geosocial storytelling revolution. For example, Hootsuite (the popular social media communications dashboard) has just added geosocial to its arsenal of tools.

On Oct. 12, 2011 Mashable reported that Hootsuite had acquired Geotoko, a powerful service for running location-based marketing campaigns.

Geotoko, which made its debut in 2010 at the TechCrunch Disrupt Conference, lets users manage location-based stories across multiple platforms, including Foursquare, Facebook Places, Twitter and Gowalla.

"Users can launch giveaways, discern trends from Geotoko’s real-time analytics, and track their audience through its heatmaps feature. Geotoko also has the ability to track the checkins, comments and photos that are generated throughout any geosocial campaign."

Microbudget filmmakers as well as other storytellers should take note: The tools in the Geotoko suite could be the building blocks for a really exciting new form of geosocial fiction - where audience checkins and uploads of comments and photos can become part of a new form of interactive storytelling.

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