Chances are you've heard of social networking site like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. All of these sites let you post status updates or "tweets" to tell your friends or followers what your'e doing. Gowalla takes it up a notch by being geared more towards letting your friends and family know where you are. So instead of posting a status update of "watching TV on the couch", you actually GET OUT OF THE HOUSE and go places. Once you get to a destination like a restaurant, bar, airport, mall, pub, famous landmark, coffee house, museum or other hangout, you "check in". The App detects your current location and lists the surrounding places. You simply tap on a known location and Check In. All of your friends will see this when they look at the recent activity or even better when they get a push notification. If the location you're at hasn't been added to the list yet, you can be the first to create it!
It's not for everyone
Since this App is geared to let people know where you are RIGHT NOW! I don't use this with just anyone. I use it with "known" family and friends. In other words people that I actually know and have no problem if they knew where I was. It's also kind of fun to go beyond checking in and play along by picking up and leaving virtual items in locations for others. If you don't want yet another thing to have to update, this App can also (Optionally) post to Twitter and Facebook for you too. So you could in theory use the one App to let EVERYONE know where you are
The Bottom Line
Social Networking is Fun! It's not for everyone, and I caution you on the amount of information you share with total strangers. However, used correctly this could be a useful communications tool. You can also add pictures to the locations you visit. Sort of like "I was here". Lastly, the one problem I'm having with this App is that the Facebook integration seems to be broken. Others are saying the same thing. Hopefully that gets fixed soon.