Twitter is preparing to add an additional detail to each and every tweet published by its users: location, according to co-founder Biz Stone on the Twitter Blog.
"A new API will allow developers to add latitude and longitude to any tweet," wrote Stone, adding that with "accurate, tweet-level data" you can immediately toggle to the tweets from users in your neighborhood or city — even if you do not follow them. It would also be of use to Twitterers at events "like a concert or even something more dramatic like an earthquake."
"There will likely be many use cases we haven't even thought of yet which is part of what makes this so exciting," Stone wrote.
Such hypothetical cases could include informing users of events in their immediate proximity or offering them limited-time discounts from nearby retailers.
"A small business on Twitter could potentially use the location feature to reach out to local customers, or a Twitter user hungry for pizza could search for nearby pizza joints offering specials," The New York Times speculated.
Targeting people by the location of their tweets would be especially useful, given that many Twitterers use their ever-present mobile phones to post real-time updates about their activities and emotional states.
According to Twitter, location data will not be stored "for an extended period of time." The offering will also be opt-in (it is off by default).
Developers will be the first to be offered the location feature, with hopes that they will create applications making interesting use of it. Over time, it will be offered to all users.
A recent Pear Analytics study claims only 8.7% of Tweets have pass-along value to others. Similarly, only 8% of advertisers deem Twitter an effective promotion tool, according to LinkedIn and Harris.
Not to say Twitter has demonstrated itself useless to the marketing community. Apparently Twitter users are more engaged with music, and thus more likely to spend money downloading it, than non-tweeting counterparts.