Tuesday Two.Oh! Tools that help me tell you where I am…currently.

Tuesday Two.Oh! is not meant as an endorsement, but as an exploration of the tools that are out there. Click at your own risk. 🙂

Today on Tuesday Two.Oh! we’re going to take a little adventure over to a just-for-the-hell-of-it tool that updates your friends to your location- and even introduces you to things that might be happening in your area. Let’s take a look at Bright Kite.

From the site: “Brightkite is the simple way to keep up with friends and places. It lets you see where all your friends are, so you can spend more time with them. You can also discover places in your neighborhood and meet other locals along the way.”

I’ve tried a lot of these tools lately- the most popular of them is Four Square. I like Four Square, but there’s something about Bright Kite that Four Square just doesn’t have: interactive location and friend updates. Bright Kite might be one of the most manipulatable microblogs I’ve ever seen- not that Twitter hasn’t done a decent job of trying to localize their tweeps… it’s just easier when using Bright Kite. However, in a huge nod to both Four Square and Twitter it’s very apparent that Bright Kite borrows heavily from both in order to provide their users with the Bright Kite interface.

Now the trick to it is just remembering to use it!

The first thing I did when I clicked over to Bright Kite was link it up with my Facebook- which has its drawbacks when you try to log in via your mobile. We’ll get to that later. When you’ve logged in (either via Facebook or by setting up an account with a valid email address..recommended!) you’ll see something very familiar… a Twitter-like stream populated with tons of updates from people you don’t know!

This is interesting, if only for the fact that the posts aren’t filtered in a Twitter-like fashion. You just see everyone. The point of Bright Kite isn’t to create “followers” but to cultivate “fans.” These fans like what they read on that world-wide feed and they favorite your post. Then, if they choose, they can become your friend. I think. I’m not 100% clear on that yet, but it seems interesting. There’s definitely an obvious desire to get away from Twitequette and all that jazz, but it borrows so heavily that a frequent Twitter user might be turned off by the inability to control who they read on their stream.

An interesting part of Bright Kite is the ability to narrow that stream by manipulating the geographic area you’re looking at. Unfortunately Oklahoma City doesn’t have many members as yet, so some of the streams are a little, ahem, dry. But, you’ll be able to take a look at who’s near you without necessarily having to follow them or be their friend.

Once you’ve taken a look around you, you can update your own space. This is where Bright Kite starts to feel like Four Square.

Once you’ve updated your location, you can zoom in on others in your area using the geographic locaters.

As with most social media, you have a profile page on Bright Kite. This will display your personal updates and location check-ins.

But my FAVORITE part of my profile is that is came with its very own QR Code! How cool is this!

Remember, a friend introduced me to these over the summer and we talked about them on a previous Tuesday Two.Oh! Very cool technology. Though, i couldn’t get my iphone to read it, so I’m a little lost as to the significance of it’s presence on the page. I may need to update my tag reader, though.

As I mentioned earlier, I had trouble with the mobile site of Bright Kite. I went to log in using the username that signing in with Facebook provided me- and it didn’t work. It didn’t work with their supplied username, nor anything associated with Facebook. So, I deleted that account and just started a new one using my gmail account. Which I recommend if you decide to give this site a whirl. The app is decent and very clean and attractive.

All in all, I liked Bright Kite. I think that the ability to manage your stream geographically is an interesting twist to the traditional Twitter feed. That said, I like to be choosy about who I read sometimes, and it seems awfully hard to keep up with a stream that’s global. Sometimes I find these tools and I’m just really not all that sure just what to do with them. I hope Bright Kite doesn’t end up in my closet of unused by inspired 2.0 tools that I’ve signed up for but really never gone back to (hello, Twine!).

Do you use Bright Kite? What do you think?



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