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Posts tagged with ‘foursquare’

I twittered about a NY Times piece by Jenna Wortham yesterday, one that suggested Foursquare’s rate of growth is slowing. Relatively quickly I was chatting with Dennis Crowley, founder and CEO of Foursquare.

I’ve downloaded the new app, and it looks good, but as I have written about in the past, I really dislike the gamification — badges and mayors and all that junk — so I doubt that I will persist in using Foursquare.

I liked the thinking behind Firefly, a Twitter appliance, so maybe Twitter will add an optional check-in with maps capability someday. (I prototyped that once upon a time as Twheres, but couldn’t get it funded.)

Case Study: RadioShack Finds Foursquare Customers Spend More - Stephanie Miles →

Stephanie Miles via Street Fight

When RadioShack launched its pilot campaign with Foursquare in August 2010, the company’s director of social media and digital strategy, Adrian Parker, was skeptical that the platform could be used as an effective marketing tool. So RadioShack started out small and began using the redemption codes embedded in its check-in offers to track the purchases of its customers. After 15 months of tracking this data, it became clear that customers who check-in on Foursquare spend more money on average than those who do not. These customers are also more likely to buy wireless products, a core component of the RadioShack brand.

But they don’t analyze the people demographically, as far as I can tell, aside from having a smart phone.

Facebook Places Is Nowhere

Gizmodo reports Facebook Just Killed Places, the competitor to Foursquare that was supposed to destroy the upstart start up. It’s still on the Facebook site, but the company has announced plans to disable the functionality in its mobil clients.

Remember all the folks saying that Foursquare was going to be crushed, that Facebook was the 800lb gorilla in any niche it wanted to move into? I suggested at the time that Places might be the point of clear overextension for Facebook.

Just remember: Facebook is the new AOL, and it will stub its toe a million times on a million niches.

Geosocial networking: The secret sexism of social media | The Economist →

E.G for Babbage

According to Pew, a research outfit, geosocial services like Foursquare and Gowalla attract twice as many men as women. What makes this finding striking is that, in general, women use social media more heavily than men do.  (The pop-psychology explanation: women are more social then men.) So why do women lag men in geosocial media?

I would offer two hypotheses. The first is that women’s concerns about security differ from men’s and are warier of broadcasting their physical location. The second is that Foursquare and Gowalla are partly about competition: if users check in frequently, they can win points and badges. And broadly speaking, I don’t think women are as motivated by badges as much as men are. (Incidentally, the Pew numbers also showed that online Hispanics are far heavier users of geosocial apps than online whites and blacks—I have no idea what to make of that, but perhaps our commenters do.)

Either way, the gender disparity clearly exists. In the case of Foursquare and Gowalla, this is not much of a problem; while these services may be fun, no one is severely disadvantaged (at least not yet) by failing to participate. But any business should be aware of its inadvertent biases, and entrepreneurs ought to be attentive to these gaps in market coverage. Foursquare and Gowalla are growing, but they might grow more quickly if they figured out how to encourage the other half of the population to sign up.

E.G. doesn’t mention how small the numbers are in fact: only 6% of men and 3% of women use these Foursquare or similar apps. There is a general aversion to posting geolocation information, it seems. I doubt that useful information can be derived from such a small body of users. It’s clear that the buzz about these tools is all futures, at best. They may all be a great big dud in the long run.

Checking out of LBS - Peter Kim →

Peter Kim joins the stampede of those declaring ‘check in’ dead, led by Mark Watkins at RRW, making the case that it’s more work than its worth to use an independent tool for just checkins, and as a result :

LBS will survive, but only as a feature of larger scale social networks.

Again, what appeared to be a huge market opportunity is revealed to be a feature.

As I have often said, why doesn’t Twitter just build in a check in feature? Or Tumblr, for that matter?

(Source: underpaidgenius)

Firefly Shutting Down Today

I got an email from Gary Culliss, one of the founders of Firefly, the Twitter appliance that let you check-in at various places and post that info in your Twitter stream.

Apparently attention is being pulled away by the enormous noise in that space, like Foursquare and Facebook, new entrants like Ditto, and photosharing geolocational tools like Instagram.

Gary says he will be pursuing other mobile apps, and now I may go back to using Brightkite.

Hell, Yes, Google Should Buy Groupon. And Twitter. And Foursquare... →

All those billions should be used to buy up promising tech companies, and these people would definitely add the needed social DNA to Google.

Facebook Places ‘boring' says Foursquare chief - Telegraph →

"The only interesting thing about Places is that it has a potential audience of over 500 million people around the world… but that can only be a good thing for location-based services, like Foursquare, as Facebook will educate the masses about check-ins."

Facebook may be overextending in its quest to become the social dimension of the web.

Can Google Go Social?

I have been watching Google’s frenetic quest to find an opening into the social revolution for a long time.

To date, what we have seen are experiments and acquisitions.

Having Gundotra lead social at Google reminds me of President Obama tapping General Petraeus to take on Afghanistan. It feels calming at the moment, but might not actually lead to the desired outcome.

On one one side, half-hearted hobbies that senior management hopes will grow into something great. In this category we have the more-or-less failed social network Orkut and now Wave, which both surfaced from the company’s ‘one day a week’ tinkering culture.

On the other, acquisitions like Jaiku and Dodgeball, which were innovative and groundbreaking, but were allowed to die in red tape, and where the innovative founders — like Jyri Engstrom of Jaiku, and Dennis Crowley of Dodgeball, soon left the company. Or great fat purchases like YouTube, which have proven to be less valuable than market prices.

Then, Google staged a relatively public search for a leader to move them to social. (Despite losing Jyri and Dennis, either of which could have done great things for the firm.) The result? Can’t find the right person. Catarina Fake couldn’t be lured back into corporate deadness, I guess. And Bradley Horowitz, who runs Google Talk, Grandcentral, Blogger and Picasa, wasn’t the right guy, apparently.

So now we have Vic Gundotra annointed as Mr Social, a guy who has made great strides at Google Mobile, getting Android into the market with a bang. But is he Mr Social?

Having Gundotra lead social at Google reminds me of President Obama tapping General Petraeus to take on Afghanistan. It feels calming at the moment, but might not actually lead to the desired outcome.

Om Malik puts it this way: Vic is a great product manager, focused on features. But social is more than a veneer of games, gestures, music, comments.

Om Malik, Slide, Vic Gundotra & The Un-Social Reality of Google

Social is more than just features. I’ve been saying for a while that in order to understand social and win over the social web, companies need to understand people. I’m not sure Google is capable of understanding people on that level, and that’s the reason why the company strikes out whenever it tries. There are rumors Google co-founder Sergey Brin championed the acquisition of Slide. He also championed Google Wave (which is shutting down) and the poorly conceived Google Buzz.

We are in a great migration away from a web of pages to a web of flow, where streams connect us and allow us to share links, comments, photos, games, locations, lists, and even larger social objects in the future. And Google has only had the smallest involvement in that expansion.

Google made a pile by harvesting the latent value of all the social gestures we were leaving around the web in the form of links. These form the core of Page Rank and Google’s search/advertising business.

This was born in the paleolithic of the social web, where mostly we were wandering around as hunter-gatherers, turning over rocks, based on keyword search. The idea of social in those days was to send email alerts to people so they’d remember to read your blog and post comments.

But the social web has grown based on social networks — relationships between people — not hyperlinks between web pages. We are in a great migration away from a web of pages to a web of flow, where streams connect us and allow us to share links, comments, photos, games, locations, lists, and even larger social objects in the future. And Google has only had the smallest involvement in that expansion. But they desperately want in on the next wave, but they haven’t found a formula yet. It’s not Wave or Buzz, obviously. And now they are plotting a knockoff of Facebook: how 2009!

There are many unplowed fertile fields out there, where Google’s scale and engineering soul could do great things. As just one example, modern social network research has shown that the social ‘scenes’ we are situated in — the millions of people that form the ‘friends of my friends’ friends’ network — are the single best predictor of our likelihood to be fat, smoke, or be happy. And by extension, buy Chevrolets, listen to Country music, or read manga. And no services have tapped into that reality, yet, except in the most inadvertent ways. (For more background see Social Scenes: The Invisible Calculus Of Culture, It’s Betweenness That Matters, Not Your Eigenvalue: The Dark Matter Of Influence and Jeff Jarvis on The Hunt For The Elusive Influencer.)

This is why actions like buying Slide are likely to be diversions, like Jaiku and Dodgeball turned out to be. Meanwhile, there are real advances to be made — like building sociality into the operating platforms of the future. Obviously Google is in a position to do that with Android and Chrome, but I honestly don’t think they know what to build.

Too Square For Foursquare?

There’s an awful lot of excitement about Foursquare, a mobile social media service that lets you share and broadcast your location. Based on your activity, you badges and can become the mayor of a particular location (e.g. Starbucks) by visiting it more often than other Foursquare users.

After being scolded by Robert Scoble recently for not getting Foursquare, I decided to try it out. Although my test was fairly brief, it didn’t take long to realize Foursquare isn’t my cup of tea. While I can certainly see the appeal for some people, the idea of broadcasting my location doesn’t feel right. In fact, it makes me think of George Orwell’s “1984″ as opposed to feeling that I’m on the cutting edge of social media activity.

Hey, we’re living in a world where we’re increasingly sharing more of what we do, think, see and eat but where does it end? For me, Twitter and my blogs are the tools to share things. At the same time, I like the idea of other people not exactly knowing where I’m located and what I’m doing.

Sure, you have to submit your location to Foursquare so it’s not like your mobile device is broadcast beacon. And I get that some (many?) people may like the idea of being able to tell friends where they are and what they’re doing so they can easily connect but there are other ways to do it – Twitter and Facebook.

My lack of interest in Foursquare may be off-base, and I may be overly concerned about my privacy or the amount of information that really needs to be shared with other people, but my spider-sense tingles when it comes to the service.

Is it just me or does Foursquare not resonate with other people? Am I missing something?


Unlike Mark, I am perfectly happy to share my geoloco publicly: hell, I am Mr Publicy.

But I don’t like Foursquare’s game aspect: becoming the mayor of a diner or bar doesn’t move me much.

I was once in a geoloco deathmatch with Joi Ito in the dim dark days of Plazes, when we were tagging wifi spots. Maybe that’s what burned me out to the game side of geoloco.

And I similarly don’t click with Gowalla.

I use BrightKite fitfully, but it’s too heavyweight, with yet another social network, blogging platform, photos, etc.

What I would really like to see is something tightly reliant on my Twitter network, that would let me simply post my geolocation and people could find out where I was by looking at a map page. I may hack something kludgey, like a short URL to a google maps page. Since I have the domain sort of working through, that should be easy enough.

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