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Does L.A.'s car culture make new social media difficult?

May 23, 2010 | 11:19 am

http://opinion.latimes.com/photos/uncategorized/2009/01/13/billboardliz_o_baylenlat.jpg

In early May, Mark Ghuneim was sitting in his hotel room at the Four Seasons near Beverly Hills. He discovered via his iPhone's Foursquare app that a friend was at the Echo, a concert venue in Echo Park about eight miles away, about to watch a concert.

"I'm realizing that even if I got in my car and drove there right now, I'd miss the set," he said.

At that moment, Ghuneim did not find Foursquare as useful as some of its 1 million users do. Location-based services are the hot new form of social networking, allowing users to tell their friends where they are and what they think of that place. Loopt has more than 3 million users and MyTown has more than 2 million, while Twitter and Google also have location-based features.

But as Ghuneim discovered, these services might not be an ideal fit for Los Angeles, a city that has always had anxiety when it comes to locations. 

Angelenos tend to spend too much time in a location we don't want to be, driving to a location we're trying to reach, along with a bunch of other people fighting to do the same. The city's spread-out geography and car dependence might make it particularly inhospitable to the spontaneity that these services thrive on.

Read the full story by Zachary Pincus-Roth here.

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