Social Media Can't Help When You're Lost

Let's Go For A Walk in ManhattanI was in the park last weekend, sitting back and enjoying a typical summer day in New York. I got a call to meet in midtown around 1 or so. Since it was a nice day, I decided to skip the subway and walk downtown. Maybe make a stop at the Apple Store and poke around. Again, nice and easy day. Before I headed out, I decided to turn on miCoach just for kicks. I walk around a lot in New York, but I never knew how much. This little app gives me a better idea as to why my legs are so sore the next day.

So, I started walking. As you can see, the start was rather non-eventful - a straight walk down the east side of Central Park. No problem there.

But once I hit the Apple Store (59th/Central Park South/5th Ave), things start to go a little bonkers. It looks like I really had no idea where I was going, but it doesn't look like I felt it was necessary to stop and ask directions.

I knew where I was going, and I didn't necessarily need directions (although the bottom-half of that track screams differently). I was heading to midtown, to a specific intersection, I just took a longer route to get there. I stopped to look at a big bunny in front of a bigger building. I stopped off at Grand Central (I read there was a new beer joint there, I just couldn't find it). I even stopped to watch some construction on an underground passageway. All of this can kind of explain the path I took that resembles a two-year-old drawing.

I was hoping to grab a drink and catch a ballgame on TV while I waited. At some point, I took out the phone and punched up Explore on the foursquare app to see what my options were. It turns out, there were a lot of pubs and bars around that I could get to within walking distance.

The only problem was that none of these places were really worth stepping in to. Not their fault - I'm sure they are plenty enjoyable. They just weren't what I was looking for. And I don't think any social media app available today could have solved this.

I quickly realized it can be a turnoff if my main hope of finding a decent place is foursquare (or Twitter, or Google Maps, or...). These are great devices to help you find a solution, but they are not the solution themselves.

I'm intrigued with Google+. I mean, if I was able to hook my own preferences, even coupled with my pals preferences, into a location app, that would make sense.

Hey! This place fits the same profile as you and Greg and John.

Hey! I'm going here!

This seems like it would be a lot of work, and I don't think merchants would necessarily like to be boiled down to a few specific characteristics.

There are some great tools out there to help guide us in the right direction, but they aren't ready to give us the specific answer we're looking for. At least, not yet.

Now, if there was a label next to a bar in an app that listed it as a must-visit based on my social graph, there'd be no question where the end of that pink line would end.