Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Do you foursquare?

Just when you got used the idea of using Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, along comes this strange new social media creature called "foursquare." What exactly is foursquare, and how the heck do you use it?

We were curious too, so we downloaded the app to our iPhone and checked it out. Here's how it works, in a nutshell: When you log in to foursquare, it uses GPS to determine your location. It then presents you with a list of places - businesses, etc. - that are located near you. For example, your office, the coffee shop next door, and the gas station across the street might all be listed. You then select your specific location and you "check in." That's your statement of where you're located at the moment. If your location isn't in the list, you can add it.

Once you are checked in at a location, you can leave tips about it - either on your smart phone, or via the web. If you check in at the coffee shop next door and they have a great breakfast burrito, you can leave a tip that says, "Best breakfast burrito in town!" Then, when future foursquare users check into that coffee shop, they can refer to their app for tips about what's good at that location. And, if they happen to check in there the same time as you, well, you just might make a new friend.

Becoming a foursquare mayor is an interesting feature. Every time you check in at a location, it is recorded. The person who checks in most is dubbed "mayor." Proprietors may offer discounts or freebies to foursquare mayors, which creates fun competition and can increase traffic to the venue as patrons vie to win the spot.

We were a little leery at first. After all, do you really want everyone to know where you are at all times? Well, fear not - foursquare allows you to log in and out at will, and also enables you to check in "off the grid" so others can't see where you are.

While foursquare is fun and can be useful to local retailers and their customers, the application to the association community may not be immediately evident. So tell us: Are you or is anyone in your organization using foursquare? If so, leave a comment and share your best practices and ideas - or share your concerns. With check-ins doubling over a month-long period to more than 40 million, foursquare may very well be the next big thing in social media.

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At 9:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the post on FourSquare. I must disagree with you on the application to the event industry. Location based social networking meets social gaming will bring a big shift in the event/tradeshow space.

Imagine quests that get special badges, badges leading to special access to something, etc.

Foursquare is growing and changing (as is Gowalla). I encourage all to jump on and give it a shot. Check-in several times/day for 2 weeks. Friend a few people you trust. Then think about application to the event industry.

At 8:17 AM, Blogger The DigitalNow Team said...

Hi, Kevin:

We agree that there is much potential for foursquare with regard to the event industry. In fact, we are starting to experiment with it as a tool for an integrated experience. I don't see any disagreement between us at all... we're excited about the doors this new tool will open for events, as well as for communications across the association market.

Thanks for being part of the conversation!


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