What Is Geotagging?

Explaining the Geotagging Social Network Trend

Woman Taking Photo of Impending Hurricane Sandy, Point Pleasant, New Jersey, USA
Photo © Andrew Kolb / Radius Images / Getty Images

Nearly everyone has a smartphone nowadays, and with the rise of mobile technology comes the opportunity to "geotag" specific content you post on social networks. But what does that even mean?

An Intro to Geotagging

As its name implies, geotagging involves "tagging" a geographical location to something like a status update, a tweet, a photo or something else you post online. It's particularly useful because a lot of people now share content on their favorite social networks via their smartphones or tablet computers while on the go, so they're not always in one specific location all the time like we used to be back in the day when we could only access the web from a desktop computer.

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Why Geotag Something on Social Media?

Geotagging a location to your posts gives your friends and followers a deeper glimpse into where you are and what you're doing. For example, if you're tweeting about a restaurant experience downtown, you could tag that restaurant location to your post to let everyone know exactly where you are so they know to check that place out (or even avoid it depending on what you're sharing about it). Or if you're posting photos while on vacation, you could tag the specific hotel, resort or other venues to give people an idea of the places you're visiting.

Popular Social Networks That Support Geotagging

Most of the big social networks have geotagging features built right into them these days -- both on their web versions and in their mobile apps. Here are some quick tips for how to use them.

Geotag your Facebook posts: When you post a status update or other media post on Facebook, you should be able to see a little location pin icon that you can click to "check in" to a place.

Use the dropdown menu to pick a nearby place or search for a specific one. Your location will be posted alongside your Facebook post.

Geotag your tweets of Twitter: Similar to Facebook, Twitter also has a location pin icon in the tweet composer that you can click or tap to find a nearby location. Your location will show up beneath your tweet when it's posted.

Geotag your Instagram photos and videos: Instagram is all about sharing while on the go, and every time you prepare to post a new video or photo, you have the option to add a location on the caption tab. Adding a location will also save this photo or video to the corresponding location on your personal Instagram map (located on your profile).

Recommended: How to Put a Location in an Instagram Photo or Video

Geotag your Snapchat photos and videos: If you use Snapchat, you can snap a photo or record a video and then swipe right on it to add a fun sticker to it that changes depending on your location.

Recommended: How to Make a Snapchat Geotag

Your device or computer will likely ask for your permission to access your location first, so you'll have to allow that first before you can start geotagging. Make sure that you're using geotagging features safely and responsibly.

If your social profile visibility is set to public, remember that anyone could see a location that you post. If you don't want to share your location publicly, either set your profile to private so that only approved followers can see it or refrain from posting it altogether.

Next recommended article: 5 Location Apps to Get User Reviews & Tips about Places You Visit

Updated by: Elise Moreau