The application could be a “good way to monitor who checks in on campus [so] they can identify prospective students, staff, and faculty members, [and] they can see what locations are frequented by students, and a variety of other really useful statistics that will only help them better serve their constituents,” said Wecker, a writer for George Washington’s online news service.

Some campuses jumped on the Facebook Places bandwagon within weeks of its unveiling.

The Lexington, Ky., university placed six-foot wooden Facebook Places logos in six campus locations with the heaviest foot traffic to encourage students to “check in” using Facebook’s geo-tagging application.

David Coomer, director of interactive services at Cornett-IMS—the advertising agency that helped the university launch the Places program—said that if the campaign can spur 10,000 check-ins this semester, Kentucky could appear in 1.3 million Facebook news feeds, because each Facebook user has an average of 130 friends who can track his or her updates.

“We would like this to really have a viral marketing element … and we knew a brochure wouldn’t lead to 10,000 check-ins,” said Coomer, adding that Places would become a “household name” within six months. “It’s a great value for the university from a marketing standpoint.”

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