View Full Version : Foursquare, Gowalla etc - anyone participating?

09-01-2010, 08:22 PM
I'm curious about this as it seems to be coming up lately all around me - and not even having a smart phone and therefore no apps, I'm kinda :huh: about the whole thing.

I know how they work, but I have to wonder a) how many people and what type of people are really into this and b) if it's only going to get bigger, or it's a simple fad that will die off sooner than later.

So is anyone 'checking in' when they go to restaurants etc, and do you do it for the 'incentives' (ie apparently a free drink or chance to win something etc), or is it just a fun game?

I'm just remembering what I see as the precursor to a lot of current social media, and that's when we all got faxes and people would send around jokes and funny pictures, and then we all got email and people would send around jokes to everyone they knew. No one even has a fax anymore, and the only people I know who still email jokes are seniors (ie I get jokes and links from my older relatives, and usually delete without even opening).

Insights welcome!

09-01-2010, 08:35 PM
I use Foursquare and I think it's fun. My friends and I use it. Basically, I like the competitiveness of unlocking the badges. :)

09-01-2010, 11:11 PM
I have used Foursquare, but now I use Facebook's new app. Just for fun...

09-02-2010, 12:27 AM
So is anyone 'checking in' when they go to restaurants etc, and do you do it for the 'incentives' (ie apparently a free drink or chance to win something etc), or is it just a fun game?

I know a local pizza place that have Mayor Monday - if you're a mayor of one of their locations on Foursquare, you get free slice of pizza on Monday.

I personally don't use any of the programs, including the facebook one. Something about the whole "hey, I'm not at home and I'm eating (or whatever) so I'll be awhile come rob me" thing bothers me.

09-02-2010, 12:51 AM
I have foursquare, but I don't think I've ever used it. I actually know of a person who got robbed after they posted on Facebook that they would be out of town for 5 days, so I try to keep information like that to a minimum.

09-02-2010, 01:26 AM
True, and I don't sync Foursquare with Facebook so whenever I check in to someplace on Foursquare it doesn't show on Facebook. You can even always hide your checkins (but still get badges and points) totally so no one knows where you are.

09-02-2010, 01:30 AM
I've used Loopt for a while now, but there are no badges, etc. like the other apps. I just use it when I come upon a great restaurant or business I want others to know about.

09-02-2010, 03:56 AM
I had the Foursquare app on my Blackberry, but I wasn't using it much (not many people checking into places in Central Alberta) so I dumped it.

09-02-2010, 06:20 PM
Looks like from the low response and notes above that this sort of thing isn't as popular as some would like to believe.

UMBS Go Blue
09-02-2010, 09:28 PM
Depends. In dense urban environments with lots of young, upwardly mobile, and connected people (NYC, SF), it's very effective.

From this article:

Foursquare... began spreading a new way of experiencing the city—using the web to amplify the urban experience, making it richer, deeper, more fun. It’s the opposite of the canard that technology is ultimately alienating, that it has turned us into a nation of pale, hypnotized Second Life denizens who have forgotten what it’s like to interact in real life. Using New York as their laboratory, Foursquare—and Meetup and Yipit and Venmo and Hot Potato and dozens of others— facilitates and documents urban interactions, usually in real time, often with an eye toward building communities of users.

I find the cost-benefit marketing implications of proximity-based special offers pretty astounding:

“Usually what will happen is a user becomes the mayor somewhere and asks the manager, ‘What do I get for free?’ ” says Crowley. “The manager at first is usually like, ‘What are you talking about?’ They’ve never heard of Foursquare. Eventually, the manager will break down. It’s an opportunity for us to start turning users not just into evangelists but also salespeople.

“So the venues win—anytime someone checks in, it’s like a mini-ad. With the stats tools, you can find out who the most valuable users are to local businesses, like who’s sending their check-ins to Twitter. Maybe the owner wants to reach out to that person.”

I think it's particularly well-suited to extrovert business types who aren't afraid of the privacy implications, thrive on social interactions, embrace new possibilities, and often live in a 24/7 environment where social lives often blend in with professional lives: meeting new contacts, introducing contacts to others, and creating new buzz, activity, and deals that otherwise wouldn't be done. It's a potentially powerful example of how the new economy can help lead us, socioeconomically, into the future.

09-02-2010, 09:33 PM
I think it's somewhat creepy and annoying.

I met my friend for coffee at her favorite place several times, and each time, the person she was competing with to be mayor came down from his office and started taking over the whole conversation (he's probably 30+ years her senior and to me it was obvious he was trying to get in her pants).

Another time, I was with her at a pizza place that only has two tables, and this guy and his girlfriend turn to us and ask, "Uh, are you Joanne? Cuz my phone says the mayor is here." Creeeeepy!

09-02-2010, 09:55 PM
Thanks for the additional input - UMBS, your article makes me wonder if there are too many competing networks - perhaps the success of this will be measured in what one pays to buyout the other?

UMBS Go Blue
09-02-2010, 10:06 PM
Yes, social networking is still an industry in its early stage, so there are a lot of players out there and the value is yet to be proven. Foursquare is a definite leader in location-based social networking, though, and the fact that Facebook (a startup not too long ago) is now seen as an 800-pound gorilla moving into a new "subsector" of social networking definitely shows that lots of people appreciate the potential.

From this past June:

Foursquare, a mobile-based startup that lets people "check in" at bars, restaurants and other places through their smartphones, has raised $20 million from a group of venture capitalists that will help fuel its expansion.
The deal values the fast-growing company at $95 million before the investment, up from $6 million when it last raised money in September, said people familiar with the deal.
Mr. Horowitz... believes Foursquare has the potential to grow into a company that is worth more than $1 billion.
Foursquare also had considered being acquired and held serious talks with Facebook Inc. and with Yahoo Inc., people familiar with those discussions said. Yahoo and Facebook declined earlier this week to comment.
But Foursquare has yet to figure out how to turn its growing popularity into a business. It isn't profitable, and its revenues are small. Moreover, a number of other startups and large Internet companies are jumping into location services.

09-02-2010, 11:16 PM
Indeed. I know a lot of FSUers use FB apps and games, but I have to wonder what percentage of active FBers use that side of things (as opposed to simply communicating/sharing photos with family and friends). Part of their success seems to be offering a variety of user-driven ways to use it, and adding more options as they go along. It seems to me that Foursquare etc are a bit one-dimensional, and being somewhat game-oriented, might just burnout when people get bored and move on to the next trend.

I also wonder about age - there's a lot of talk about young, sociable urbanites - but someone I know also thinks it's big for older people, including those who are wealthy, who love technology and the latest gadgets, travel and go out a lot, and like the idea of being influencers. And are competitive.