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I don’t know about you guys, but I often feel a little disconnected from all of my “friends” on some of my social network sites. Brightkite is a new social network that aims to take social networking to a more local level by letting its users connect based on their location.

To me, Brightkite is like a mash up of Twitter and Google Maps. It allows you to make small posts or upload photos, and these updates are then categorized by your current location in order to allow you to connect with the people that are geographically close to you. Updates can be made from your computer or from text messaging on your cell phone.

Now that you have a general idea of what Brightkite is about, I’m going to give you a quick walk through of its basic features. In order to get started, you must let Brightkite know where you are currently located.

Once your location is entered, Brightkite will take you to a page that displays all of the updates from other people in the same area (in this case New York, NY). Now you can check in, add that location to your placemarks, post a note, post a photo, view recent visitors to that location, or check out a map of the area.

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Check In

You may want to “check in” at this location. Checking in will let Brightkite know your location, and this will allow other users that are close by to interact with you. Brightkite will keep track of all the places you “check in” at, so you can look back one day and marvel at all the places you’ve been.

Add to Placemarks

Brightkite has a bookmarking system called Placemarks. Placemarks are for the locations you frequently visit like your home or work. When you placemark a location, you are asked to give it a name (i.e. work), and this will allow you to post updates using just the placemark name instead of the entire address for that location.

Posting

When you select your location, you can post a note or a photo, and this post will be tied to the location you selected. This will allows other users in the area to interact with you.

Maps

When you search for an address or an area, you have the option to view a map of that address in order to see what else is close to your location. One of the other cool uses of maps within the site is the ability to map out all the places you’ve “checked in” at using Google Maps.

Brightkite is in private beta, but we’ve got 50 invites to give away to Make Use Of readers. Just send an email to me at kyle@makeuseof.com with the subject title brightkite invite and I’ll send you an invite.

Kyle Judkins is a 24 year old marketer and part-time tech blogger. He is the author of Lost In Technology where he talks about some basic technology tips and tricks that everyone can use.

  1. Meredith
    July 28, 2008 at 11:11 am

    Throw Yelp into the mashup for BrightKite...you can post reviews of business where you are!

  2. Morgaine
    May 22, 2008 at 12:29 am

    Wow - that sounds like a nightmare to me. I enjoy social media because it facilitates the free exchange of ideas in a medium relatively free of social bias. I don't actually want to visit with the people I talk to. I live on a mountain in the middle of nowhere to keep from dealing with people face to face. The last thing I want to do is have them follow me around. I might make an effort to meet someone sometime, but from what I've seen of BK, that's way too much information.

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